By Emily Stephenson and Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives expects to vote Wednesday on legislation retooling a series of financial regulations, an early sign that Republican leaders will attack President Barack Obama's Wall Street reforms this year.
Scaling back reforms including the so-called Volcker rule on banks is a top Republican priority as stated on the website of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
The proposal is one of the first votes House lawmakers will take this year after the Republican Party formally took control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress this week following last November's congressional elections.
Chris Spina, a spokesman for Democratic Representative Maxine Waters of California, said in a statement on Wednesday that the move was the start of an assault on the 2010 Dodd-Frank oversight law, which Congress passed after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
Republicans disagree with much of the law, including the Volcker rule, which bans banks from making risky trades with their own money and forbids certain investments in financial products. The bill under consideration gives banks two extra years to comply with a section of the rule related to collateralized loan obligations.
Banks had complained that they would have to quickly abandon investments in these securities, which are bundles of business loans, if the rules were not adjusted.
The Republican legislation also contains measures related to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a 2012 law that changed federal securities rules to help small business raise capital privately or go public with fewer hurdles.
Wednesday's bill reduces certain disclosure requirements for smaller firms deemed "emerging growth companies" under the JOBS Act. It also exempts merger and acquisition brokers from registering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and eases rules for small business investment advisers, among other measures.
The 11 provisions were approved either by House committees or the full body in the last Congress, which ended in 2014. But many were criticized by Democrats at the time.
If the House approves the bill, it would still need to be considered by the Senate. The Senate took up far fewer changes to financial reforms in previous years and, because it is more evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, could be less likely to approve controversial legislation this year.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Caren Bohan and Grant McCool)