Former Rep. Barney Frank: Dodd-Frank Has Held Up ‘Pretty Well’

Ten years after President Obama signed the (Dodd-Frank) Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the law has “held up pretty well,” former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Tuesday.

Speaking at a virtual conference co-sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the University of Michigan, Frank said that Republican members of Congress have attempted to repeal the Obama Administration’s health overhaul bill “every other week,” but have not mounted a serious attempt to repeal Dodd-Frank.

“It was too popular,” Frank said.

Obama signed Dodd-Frank on July 21, 2010. The law is informally named after Frank, who chaired the House Financial Services Committee at the time, and former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), who chaired the Senate Banking Committee.

Dodd agreed with Frank, declaring, “There was never any effort to repeal it.”

The conference came one day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the single-director structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, included in Dodd-Frank, is unconstitutional because the director could only be removed for cause. The decision allows the agency to continue, with the president able to remove its director at will.

“The decision was a lot better than it could have been,” Dodd said. “On a 5 to 4 decision, they didn’t do as much damage as they could have done.”

Dodd and Frank said they oppose legislation that would convert the CFPB into a five-member commission—a plan that has been endorsed by credit union trade groups. Dodd cited the example of the Federal Election Commission, which often has been unable to function because nominees to the panel have not been confirmed. As a result, the commission often has lacked a quorum. Dodd said in some cases opponents of a commission’s work have blocked nominees in an effort to stop it from functioning.

Dodd and Frank agreed that many Republicans simply oppose the CFPB’s efforts.

Frank summed up Republican opposition to the CFPB this way: “The only things the Republicans didn’t like is that it existed.”


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