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Statement by Congresswoman Waters on HR 1573, Additional GOP Tactics to Impede Dodd-Frank

May 11, 2011
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, delivered the following remarks at a press conference on HR 1573 today outside the U.S. Capitol:

"Thank you, Ranking Member Frank.

I'm pleased to join you and my other Democratic colleagues here today to, once again, stand up and speak out about the increasingly brazen attempts by the GOP to slowly but surely dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Since Republicans know they cannot repeal Dodd-Frank, and despite its overwhelming popularity among the American people, they continue to seek every opportunity to defund, delay, and deemphasize the law. HR 1573 is part of that extreme agenda.

As Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, I am very concerned that HR 1573 -- a bill by Chairmen Lucas and Bachus to delay the derivatives reforms laid out under the Dodd-Frank law -- is bad policy that will impede our financial and economic recovery.

You've heard some of my colleagues describe what this legislation would do, but in a nutshell, HR 1573 would:

• Delay the requirement for financial institutions to hold capital against trades they are making with other financial institutions;
• Delay the requirement for financial institutions to post margin for trades with other financial institutions;
• Delay the ability of regulators to establish position limits
• Delay the adequate oversight of clearinghouses;
• Delay the requirement that certain swaps be exchange-traded and cleared; and
• Delay meaningful reporting of derivatives transactions.

The bill also allows Wall Street firms to be exempt from certain regulatory requirements, allowing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to utilize tricky language to exempt "any person" from any registration or related regulatory requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Some will ask, what is the practical impact on American consumers? Well, consumers are already feeling the pain of runaway speculation at the pump.  In Los Angeles, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline is $4.27. By delaying implementation of the rules to regulate derivatives, Republicans are impeding the ability of the CFTC to set position limits on speculative trading, including speculation on gasoline. According to Goldman Sachs, speculation on gasoline alone is adding $27 to the price of a barrel of oil. The CFTC has a proposed rule that would rein this in. But the Republicans want to stop that rule, an action that will ensure that our constituents continue to feel pain at the pump.

So HR 1573 is basically another gift from the GOP to Wall Street. Remember, it was Chairman Bachus himself who said, "we are here to serve the banks." This gift to Wall Street will come at the expense of consumers, who will see higher oil prices as a direct result of the GOP's actions tomorrow.

So I stand with my colleagues today ready to fight this legislation and the GOP's other attempts to weaken Dodd-Frank, including hampering the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the first meaningful reform to separate bank regulation from consumer protection in history – with a bureaucratic leadership structure and other dilatory tactics that will hurt consumers and empower those organizations that caused the economic crisis we've worked so hard to come back from.

Thank you."