Sen. Warren: Financial Choice Act an ‘Insult to Working Families’

Act is 'immoral' and 'about throwing people under the bus so that lobbyists can do the bidding of Wall Street,' Warren said Friday

Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-Mass. (Photo: NLJ) Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-Mass. (Photo: NLJ)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., lambasted the Financial Choice Act Friday, stating that the bill to undo Dodd-Frank is not only “wrong” but “immoral” as it would allow big banks, financial advisors and payday lenders “to go back to cheating people.”

In testimony before Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee, who called for the hearing, Warren said: “Let me be blunt, [the act is a] 586-page insult to working families.”

The Financial Choice Act, which would also dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she helped to set up, is “the wrong choice,” Warren stated. “It is immoral” and “about throwing people under the bus so that lobbyists can do the bidding of Wall Street.”

Added Warren: “We built the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the rest of Dodd-Frank so families wouldn’t get cheated.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee, said during her opening remarks that the Choice Act is an “expansively bad bill.”

Waters was among the chorus of democratic lawmakers who implored House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling on Wednesday to hold another hearing on the Choice Act before it is marked up on Tuesday.

Waters stated at the Friday morning hearing that “the majority held a hearing during which their witnesses shared so many ‘alternative facts’ that I was sure they must be living in an alternative reality.”

Democrats, she said, “are going to set the record straight. We’ve asked for this second hearing to hear from experts and well-informed witnesses who know, understand and appreciate the importance of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and who can point out the dangers of the Wrong Choice Act.”

Hensarling’s “Wrong Choice Act destroys Wall Street reform, guts the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and returns us to the financial system that allowed risky and predatory Wall Street practices and products to crash our economy,” Waters said.  

Hensarling said in a Friday statement regarding the Democrats' hearing that former president "Barack Obama is pocketing $400,000 for a Wall Street speech and Professor Warren is joining Wall Street CEOs in defending Dodd-Frank. How awkward for the Democrats. The Financial CHOICE Act ends bailouts for Wall Street and imposes the toughest penalties in history for those who commit financial fraud and insider trading. Community banks and credit unions are supporting the Financial CHOICE Act. Wall Street CEOs and Democrats are the ones saying, ‘Don’t repeal Dodd-Frank.’"

Amanda Jackson, outreach coordinator for Americans for Financial Reform, called the act during her testimony Friday, “The Wall Street Choice Act.”

Mike Rothman, president of the North American Securities Administrators Association and Minnesota commissioner of commerce, stated in written testimony to the committee that “It is clearly evident that the changes contemplated by the bill would significantly undermine and compromise the ability of regulators to effectively enforce financial laws and regulations.”

NASAA, Rothman said, also “objects strongly” to the Act’s Section 391, which would mandate the adoption of policies governing the coordination of state and federal enforcement actions.

Rothman called the proposed requirement “overbroad and misguided,” stating that it is “unnecessary and potentially very disruptive in the realm of securities regulation given that state and federal securities regulators already collaborate on a voluntary basis to share information and leverage resources efficiently.”

NASAA, he continued, “has great concerns about hampering this voluntary state-federal collaborative framework through Section 391 as written.” 

--- Check out Hensarling’s Dodd-Frank Do-Over Guts CFPB, Memo Reveals on ThinkAdvisor.

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