Republicans leading the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 23 advanced a nearly $21 billion bill meant to undo parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law that curbed large banks from making risky investments.
The members of the committee passed the bill on a strict party line vote, 16 to 14, The Hill reported.
Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama sponsored an amendment to the bill that surely left some of his Democratic colleagues. Shelby’s portion of the legislation was over 200 pages, an unprecedented amount of writing to be attached to a large appropriations bill. In those pages, Shelby, a former Democrat turned Republican, outline his proposed updates to Dodd-Frank.
“Certain changes to current law are needed,” he said.
Shelby added that the regulations were negatively affecting smaller banks around the nation, who have been “subject to a one-size-fits-all regulatory framework.”
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Shelby’s actions would “set a terrible precedent” for future lawmakers and Democratic. Sen Dick Durbin of Illinois believed that Shelby was going to make “history,” referring to the length of the Alabama Republican’s section of the bill.
Shelby spoke at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, on July 20 to discuss the five-year anniversary of the passage of the Dodd-Frank legislation. Again, he criticized the law for its excessive burdens on all banks throughout the nation.
“Failure is a part of capitalism and those businesses that take excessive risk should be allowed to fail,” Shelby said. “Bailouts can be applied unfairly with government deciding which companies will survive and which will fail.”
While Dodd-Frank was originally supposed to function as a three-tier protection system for consumers, it has largely been ignored, with legislators more focused on placing restrictions on large banks that were labeled “too big to fail” during the 2008 economic collapse, Bloomberg News reported.
Another amendment, passed in an 18 to 12 vote, lifts the Treasury Department’s travel ban on Cuba, effectively allowing Americans to travel to the tropical country. This was only the first hurdle in removing those restrictions, however, and Americans are currently only allowed to travel to Cuba for a specific purpose which must be approved by the U.S. government.
In another vote, the panel adopted an amendment that would ban banks from using federal funds to penalize or ban legal marijuana business from utilizing financial services. That amendment passed 16 to 14.