While We Were Watching Comey’s Testimony, The House Quietly Sucker-Punched Our Economy

The news of the day is the testimony that former FBI Director James Comey gave to the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning, along with Trump’s lawyer’s response in which there were all kinds of false allegations leveled at Comey. And while we were all swept up in that, the House was busy sucker-punching us. They held an important vote today on what to do with the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that was passed in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008.

They’re ridiculously calling their new bill the CHOICE Act. It basically allows the banks to decide for themselves whether they continue to abide by Dodd-Frank or not. Because self-regulation, particularly of the financial sector, has always worked so well in the past.

The CHOICE Act has a capital requirement that many banks say is still too high, but in light of what else this bill does, that’s a minor complaint. The bill guts the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created specifically as an oversight body to help rein in risky behavior on the part of the big banks.

Paul Ryan calls it “a jobs bill for Main Street.” Oh, please, Mr. Speaker, you know we can see right through your baloney. Especially on this.

While Ryan and many of his cohorts are cheering the CHOICE Act’s passage, some of the more sane Republicans and most Democrats are slamming it for “paving the way back to economic damage of the same scale [as the financial crisis] or worse,” as Maxine Waters put it.

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Furthermore, a story on Fortune’s website says that this bill would prohibit the CFPB from publishing the data it collects on complaints about banks and other financial services, such as credit reporting. That, in turn, makes it more difficult for consumers to make informed choices, and it also could potentially remove an avenue for filing complaints and actually getting results:

“Individuals can also file complaints to try to right a wrong, such as when a credit bureau refuses to fix an error on a credit score. Credit reporting bureaus are notorious for mistakes, with as many as one in five consumers potentially having an error in their credit file.

Yet the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) lack proper incentives to fix these errors, which is why it should come as no surprise that they are the three most complained about companies in the CFPB database. [Full disclosure: I once filed a complaint about an error in my credit file, which I had been unable to fix in direct contact with the company, but after I filed a report with CFPB it was quickly fixed.]”

We know that the GOP doesn’t care one whit about creating jobs, helping people in general or protecting the economy. They just proved it, again, with this after proving it with their insipid Obamacare replacement. Fortunately, like the AHCA, this has little chance of even making it to the Senate floor for a vote.


Featured image via Ty Wright/Getty Images