Press Releases

Hensarling Opening Statement at Financial CHOICE Act Markup


Washington, September 13, 2016 - Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today's markup of H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act:

It has been six years since the passage of Dodd-Frank.  We were told it would lift our economy, but instead we are stuck in the slowest, weakest, most tepid recovery in the history of the Republic.  The economy does not work for working people.  They have seen their paychecks stagnate.  They have seen their savings decimated.  We have seen millions who remain unemployed and underemployed and an economy working at roughly half of its potential.  There is a better way.

We have seen consumers suffer.  We have seen free checking cut in half at banks.  We have seen some auto loans increase by $500.  We have seen credit card rates increase 200 basis points, 15 percent fewer.  There is a better way.

We were told that Dodd-Frank would make our economy more stable, yet the big banks are bigger.  We have seen historic levels of bond market illiquidity and volatility, a major funder of our job engine in America.  We were told that it would end too big to fail, yet instead we know that Dodd-Frank codified too big to fail and created the orderly liquidation authority so that taxpayers would be forced to bail it out.

Again, there is a better way – a better way known as the CHOICE Act, Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs.  It provides economic growth for all, bailouts for none.  It ends bailouts.  It ends too big to fail once and for all and assures that these companies are subject to bankruptcy, not bailout.  It replaces taxpayer funds with loss-absorbing private capital – far more capital than either Dodd-Frank or Basel requires.  And it substitutes market discipline for government control.

It creates true consumer protections so that our consumer agency will enforce the law and not actually make it up.  It will hold Washington accountable by removing a Soviet style command-and-control economy.  It will ensure that the shadow regulators come out from the shadows and that government will be subject to the will of We, the People.  As Madison warned us in Federalist 47, the combination of all powers – judicial, legislative and executive – in one branch is the very definition of tyranny.

The bill also holds Wall Street accountable with the toughest, strongest, strictest penalties ever – far greater than those in Dodd-Frank.  And as recent headlines attest, obviously stronger penalties are needed.

The CHOICE act will unleash a wave of capital formation in which our economy is in desperate need.  We have seen small business lending crawl to a 25-year low.  Entrepreneurship at a generational low.  So I am proud of the work that has been done – frankly, on both sides of the aisle in some cases – to help create an entire title [in the bill] to capital formation.

Next, regulatory relief for our community financial institutions – they are withering on the vine as we continue to lose a community financial institution a day, and as we do, the hopes and dreams of countless Americans who count on those financial institutions to fund their American Dreams.

Now we have heard my friends on the other side of the aisle contend that somehow this is all pro-Wall Street.  Well, I would ask the question and have them answer the question – why is it that after Dodd-Frank the big banks are bigger? I would ask the question why have heads of major Wall Street banks called Dodd-Frank a competitive advantage? Why have the New York Times and other media outlets reported that Wall Street opposes the CHOICE Act and is now satisfied with Dodd-Frank? Why has the Wall Street Journal reported recently that 95 percent of the campaign contributions of the big banks have all gone to Hillary Clinton? Why does Dodd-Frank still pledge to bail out Wall Street banks? I hope my friends on the other side of the aisle will answer these questions.

Meanwhile, we cannot wait.  America has struggled for too long.  It is time again to hold Washington accountable, hold Wall Street accountable; it is time for economic growth for all, bank bailouts for none.  So I look forward today to marking up and ultimately passing the Financial CHOICE Act.


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