Cutting back Dodd-Frank? Don't count on it, says Mr. Frank

AP News
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Posted: Feb 03, 2017 6:35 PM
Cutting back Dodd-Frank? Don't count on it, says Mr. Frank

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — What's Barney Frank's take on President Donald Trump's first action to scale back the landmark financial overhaul law that bears his name?

Don't bank on it succeeding, he says.

Frank, the formidable former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, headed the House Financial Services Committee when the Dodd-Frank law passed in 2010. He was co-architect with then-Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., of the law enacted to rein in Wall Street and expand the government's oversight in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Democratic lawmakers passed the law and President Barack Obama signed it.

Any scaling back of Dodd-Frank would have a difficult time getting through Congress, because many Republican lawmakers' constituents favor policing Wall Street, Frank told The Associated Press in an interview.

He spoke Friday after Trump signed an executive order directing the Treasury secretary to review the Dodd-Frank law. Trump has called the law a "disaster," pledging to dismantle it. He said this week, "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank."

Frank said Trump's move contradicted his campaign promises.

"There could not be a greater contrast between the messages Donald Trump was saying to the average people about standing up to Wall Street ... and an acknowledgement that he's now going to give them their best wishes," he said. "There is this great inconsistency in what he promised and what he's doing. That's the fundamental problem."

Frank said he doesn't believe there are enough votes in Congress to repeal Dodd-Frank. "Since 2011, the House voted 30 times to repeal ("Obamacare"), but they never voted to repeal financial reform. The reason is it's popular with their constituents."

He's worried that Trump appointees won't use their authority to enforce financial rules, noting that several of Trump's choices for high-level government positions are from Wall Street.

Since Dodd-Frank took effect, the stock market has hit record highs, Frank noted, something he sees undermining Republican claims that the law is bad for business.

"They have not pointed to anything specific that they have documented that has caused any harm," he said.