Wall Street Steve Daines Proud to Gut Consumer Protections and Support ‘Too Big to Fail’ Banks

When Senate Democrats teamed up with Republicans last year to pass banking deregulation, they went all in, parroting conservative talking points about running to the rescue of Main Street. More than half of the Democrats who backed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155) invoked “credit unions and small banks” when explaining their vote.

Less than nine months after it was signed into law, however, the legislation has already paved the way for the largest bank merger since the 2008 financial crisis — the proposed purchase of SunTrust by BB&T. Their integration would create the sixth-largest bank in the country. via Truthout

(Steve Daines stands next to President Trump as the bill to allow another Wall Street crisis is signed into law last year.)

This bill was written by banks and for banks, the benefits that were lauded ever so brilliantly last year by the Republicans who passed this bill and the Democrats who stood with them are minor in comparison to the harms it will cause.

But S.2155 also relaxed rules on some of the largest depository institutions in the country — by tweaking Dodd-Frank reforms passed in 2010 to head off future meltdowns. One section forces the Federal Reserve to customize rules for banks with more than $100 billion in assets, rather than merely giving the central bank the option to tailor the rules, as had been previously allowed. The law also loosened a set of enhanced regulations on banks with assets between $50 billion and $250 billion — some of the largest institutions in the country.

As noted by The Intercept, this gave both SunTrust and BB&T extra resources and wiggle room to focus on hashing out merger plans. Forbes said the changes would save impacted banks “millions in regulatory compliance costs.” BB&T and SunTrust respectively have about $220 billion and $210 billion in assets.

If we have not learned the lesson of 2008, 1989, 1987, 1929 then we are doomed to repeat them.

Steve Daines has also worked tirelessly to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB), the organization that Elizabeth Warren founded, to prevent another financial crisis like the one we saw in 2008.

It seems that Steve Daines has something personally against Elizabeth Warren, but that is a discussion for another day…

Daines worked to destroy the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau(CFPB) in 2017 by introducing legislation that would allow Congress to gut the CFPB of funding and therefore end it’s ability to monitor Wall Street and provide consumer protection to average Americans.

“Regulations associated with Dodd-Frank have cost our economy $36 billion and created 73 million paperwork hours,” Daines stated. “We can’t create more high paying jobs and grow the economy by suffocating it with red tape.”

Daines didn’t seem concerned with the loss of billions of dollars in any of the three shutdowns he has been in favor of in 2013, 2018 and 2019.

In a letter published in the Montana Standard:

Mike Litt, Montana Public Interest Research Group (MontPIRG) Federal Consumer Program Advocate, Missoula

Sen. Daines is wrong to keep CFPB from doing its job

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created by Congress and is the crowning achievement of Wall Street Reform. The CFPB has already returned nearly $11 billion to over 26 million consumers cheated by Wall Street and other financial companies. Additionally, it is taking complaints from financial consumers who have been wronged. Complaints can be filed at: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint.

It’s therefore disappointing that Senator Steve Daines is leading the effort to keep the CFPB from doing its job. In particular, Senator Daines, who is a member of the Committee on Appropriations, voted a spending bill out of committee that would strip the CFPB of its independent funding from the Federal Reserve and leave it up to Congress. He also co-sponsored another bill that would do the same thing. How much money would Congress, which received nearly half a billion dollars in contributions from the financial! sector from the 2013-2014 campaign cycle, decide to budget for this watchdog?

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Nathan Kosted

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