Democrats put up a series of procedural roadblocks as the House Financial Services Committee began drawn-out consideration of a broad overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Act.
The Financial Choice Act (H.R. 10) drew a sharp rebuke from panel Democrats during a May 2 markup, with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), a senior member of the panel, calling it a “middle finger to consumers, investors, regulators and markets.”
Maloney also objected to a routine practice that would have deemed the bill “read,” forcing committee staff to read aloud a 591-page substitute amendment offered by committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
Staff members read through the bill for roughly two-and-a-half hours, plus a pause for floor votes, until Maloney withdrew the objection as part of a compromise that would bump any votes until the morning of May 3.
There is no guarantee the committee will vote on the full bill May 3. Democrats plan to offer dozens of other amendments, even though the committee is almost certain to ultimately approve the bill.
The committee, however, didn’t begin considering any Democratic amendments until the evening of May 2. Several committee members said the panel would adjourn at midnight even if all the amendments hadn’t been considered.
In that case, the May 3 votes would only cover amendments that were debated on May 2, with further amendment debate later in the day and additional votes to follow.
The hearing was contentious at several points, with heated rhetoric along party lines.
“What is the real middle finger to the American people is the lack of recovery that we’ve had because of Dodd-Frank,” Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) said, seizing on Maloney’s earlier comment.
Maloney also called the legislation “immoral.” Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said the Choice Act is the worst bill they had seen in their congressional tenures.
Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) voiced support, saying the bill would end bailouts, support small banks and increase penalties for bad actors. Poliquin voted against an earlier version of the bill in committee in 2016, but he declined to comment on whether he would vote for the current version of the bill.
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