A Stealth Attack on Financial Reform?

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chair of the House financial services committee. Courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The campaign to kneecap the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill just keeps gaining steam. First, it was Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the incoming chairman of the House financial services committee, who pledged to repeal federal regulators’ power to dismantle “too big to fail” banks, as spelled out in Dodd-Frank. Bachus also tried unsuccessfully to block the “Volcker Rule,” which would limit banks’ trading for their own benefit and investments in riskier hedge and private equity funds. The man Bachus beat to the run the financial services committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), a leading Republican on financial issues, has similarly attacked aspects of the legislation, seeking to chip away at the power of the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

In the Senate, both parties are now set to approve a measure that would drastically undercut Dodd-Frank. After Senate GOPers rejected a new omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through October, their Democratic counterparts offered what’s called a “continuing resolution”—a short-term plan to keep government running through March. There’s just one problem: That resolution doesn’t include previously promised money for implementing Dodd-Frank.

As ThinkProgress points out, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission were due to receive budget increases—from $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion and $169 million to $286 million, respectively—to handle the new workload from Dodd-Frank. But the short-term funding resolution doesn’t include those increases, endangering the ability of both agencies to meet their regulatory mandates. In other words, it wounds a major piece of legislation not yet a year old. “The implementation of that good and historic law is in jeopardy if the CFTC doesn’t have increased resources,” said Bart Chilton, a CFTC commissioner.

The continuing resolution has yet to be finalized, which means there’s still time to boost the agencies’ Dodd-Frank funding. If Congress fails to do so, three years’ worth of hearings, negotiations, and back-room deal-brokering will go to waste.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate