Weekly Columns

When President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law five years ago, he said he it was a victory for American people.  The President lambasted “powerful interest groups” who he claimed were working against this bill and said the law would “bring the shadowy deals that caused this crisis to the light of day.”
For all of President Obama’s populist rhetoric that day, the heavy-handed regulations generated from this law have done more to hurt the average American than it has any of the “big banks” or “investment houses” the President criticized that day.
The law does not end “too big to fail.” Instead, it creates the potential for permanent bailouts for major financial institutions. At the same time, it puts the squeeze on small community banks that are vital to rural America’s economy. When I met with community bankers in Northwest Arkansas in March, the regulatory overreach of Dodd-Frank was the first item they brought up for discussion.
This one-size-fits-all approach to regulating our banks is not the answer. Community banks didn’t cause the 2008 financial crisis and they simply can’t afford the burdens of complying with the increased regulation. Dodd-Frank is pushing them out of business.
In small communities all over Arkansas, these banks are the only choice in town. Without community banks, it would be much more difficult for farmers and small businesses in rural America to get the credit they need to survive and thrive. Small business is the backbone of our economy, but community banks are the backbone of small business.
We need a regulatory system where small, medium and large banks can succeed. With Dodd-Frank, we created a system where some banks are too big to fail and others are too small to succeed.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently passed my Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which includes a number of provisions that provide much needed regulatory relief for community banks and credit unions. Our bill includes common sense reforms to ease certain regulatory burdens rather than apply a one-size-fits-all approach to small financial institutions. 
The bill also includes provisions to increase oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a rogue agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act. The authors of the law specifically sought to limit Congressional oversight of the CFPB by designating that the bureau would receive automatic funding from the Federal Reserve. My bill will bring funding for the CFPB under the annual congressional appropriations process, giving the American public a greater say in how much funding the bureau receives and how it allocates that money.
We also included a change to the CFPB leadership structure to expand it from an individual director to a five-member commission. This commonsense reform aims to bring about more accountability at the CFPB. Given the bureau’s penchant for issuing rules at an alarming pace, adding layers of restraint to CFPB’s regulatory abilities is much-needed reform.
As we mark the five year anniversary of the passage of the flawed Dodd-Frank law, it’s about time Congress stepped in to provide commonsense regulatory relief for the engines of economic growth and community development.