#GOP efforts to empower banks to be able to screw you again will likely prevail

The banking lobby in Washington is on a roll.

The U.S. House of Representatives took its first step toward unwinding national banking regulations that were enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis Thursday, as the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would repeal significant portions of the Dodd-Frank Act.

On a party-line vote, the committee voted to send a bill from its chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to the full House for consideration.

Hensarling’s bill, known as the Choice Act, would scrap provisions of Dodd-Frank that have met heavy opposition from Wall Street, including a ban on allowing banks to trade with their own capital (popularly known as the Volcker Rule).

Hensarling’s bill would also reduce the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability to enforce consumer protection laws and make its director removable at the will of the president.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is another result of the financial crisis.

Hensarling’s legislation would also allow banks that hold large cash reserves to opt out of Dodd-Frank regulations altogether, and it would remove the federal government’s power to disassemble “too big to fail” banks before they can collapse, potentially wrecking the entire economy.

Finally, federal stress tests for major banks — a crucial assessment for the current regulatory process — would be limited to every two years.

In short, the Choice Act would repeal most of the regulations that Congress struggled to put in place after last decade’s financial meltdown.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

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