The economic downturn in 2008 caused Michiganders to lose their jobs, families to lose their savings, and some even to lose their homes.
In response to this seismic event, Democrats in Congress passed and President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. According to its supporters, Dodd-Frank was a panacea of regulatory solutions that would end “too big to fail” and prevent a future financial crisis. In reality, Dodd-Frank has made it even more difficult for struggling families along the lakeshore and across West Michigan to secure a future for themselves and for their children.
First, Dodd-Frank did not end the notion that certain banks are “too big to fail.” Instead, this flawed law enshrined it. Today, hardworking taxpayers continue to be on the hook for Wall Street’s poor business decisions thanks to Dodd-Frank’s bailout fund.
Secondly, since Dodd-Frank was enacted, the largest banks are even bigger while the small banks are fewer. Community financial institutions that had nothing to with the crisis are being strangled by overly burdensome regulations that were intended for massive banks. This is problematic because we need our community and midsize regional financial institutions to have the ability to lend to consumers and small businesses so they can innovate, invest and create jobs.
In order to restore economic opportunity for hardworking families, I am working with my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee to introduce the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act. This commonsense legislation will protect consumers by restoring accountability, ending taxpayer bailouts, and providing regulatory relief for community financial institutions.
Here’s how the Financial CHOICE Act works:
Restore accountability: At the center of the Financial CHOICE Act is accountability. Our legislation requires strong capitalization standards for banks and imposes the toughest penalties in history to protect consumers from financial fraud. The Financial CHOICE Act also holds bureaucrats in Washington accountable to the American people by placing the regulators themselves under congressional appropriations, which restores an important check on regulatory overreach. In order to get our economy working for all Americans, we need to ensure both Washington and Wall Street are held accountable.
End “too big to fail”: Since the Dodd-Frank Act passed in 2010, the big banks have gotten bigger and the small banks have disappeared at an alarming rate. The Financial CHOICE Act protects taxpayers by eliminating “too big to fail” labels once and for all. Instead, we repeal this self-fulfilling prophecy and require failing institutions to liquidate through a streamlined bankruptcy without depending on taxpayer dollars.
Enact regulatory relief for community banks: Dodd-Frank created a one-size-fits-all regulatory structure that treats community banks the same as Wall Street Banks. Unlike some of the largest banks, community financial institutions across West Michigan can’t afford to hire hundreds of lawyers and compliance officers to sort through Dodd-Frank’s red tape. These regulatory costs are passed on to consumers in the form of increased fees, fewer products and services and more limited credit options. The Financial CHOICE Act eliminates this one-size-fits-all regulation by providing commonsense relief that allows community banks and credit unions to utilize their resources for lending and meeting the needs of their customers.
The political grandstanding of Elizabeth Warren, Maxine Waters and Bernie Sanders has actually made it more difficult for hardworking families and small businesses in West Michigan to get ahead. Injecting more Washington into our economy wouldn’t have prevented the crisis in 2008 and it won’t provide a remedy for the lasting negative effects Americans are experiencing today.
The Financial CHOICE Act will protect taxpayers and consumers alike, remove the anti-growth regulations put in place by Dodd-Frank and provide more opportunity for hardworking individuals in West Michigan to achieve financial independence.
— Bill Huizenga represents Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District.
Many West Michigan families have already begun, or are about to begin their holiday weekend. As you climb into your car and get on the road, remember to travel safely. Enjoy the weekend with your family, friends, and loved-ones, but please keep in your hearts the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom as well as the veterans and families who carry their memory.
Update on the Great Lakes & President Trump's Budget. An important fact to remember in this discussion is that Congress, not the President, determines what programs are funded. I believe the Great Lakes are a national priority. In fact, Congress just supported fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the remainder of the current fiscal year. By reaching across the aisle, I have worked in a bipartisan manner to reject cuts put forward by President Obama and President Trump to the GLRI. The health and vitality of the Great Lakes are instrumental to having sustained economic growth in Michigan and across the entire Great Lakes region. I remain committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to prioritize, strengthen, and defend the Great Lakes.
This afternoon, the CBO's projection confirmed that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and reduce the federal deficit. Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a study detailing how premiums for Michigan residents on the individual market have increased by 90% over the last four years alone. ObamaCare is collapsing and isn’t sustainable. We need to restore the ability for hardworking Michiganders to choose the health care plan that best meets their needs. The AHCA is a positive step in helping to achieve that objective.
My heart goes out to the families impacted by the heinous attack in Manchester. We must stand united with our allies across the Atlantic and around the globe to combat terrorism. Those who target and seek to harm innocent children are enemies of peace and freedom who must be held accountable for their actions.
The Congressional Review Act has allowed Congress to eliminate 14 burdensome regulations the Obama Administration finalized in its waning days - including my bill to eliminate a job-destroying provision of Dodd-Frank. We need to enact commonsense reforms that rein in "regulation nation" and allow our economy to grow.