October 22, 2015

Top Committee Democrats Oppose Bid to Gut Wall Street Reform Via Funding Bills

Sen. Brown, Rep. Waters Urge Congress to Reject Policy Riders Aimed at Weakening Financial and Consumer Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C.The leading Democrats on the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees today voiced their strong objections to Republican efforts to use must-pass government funding legislation to repeal, undermine, or delay financial reforms and consumer protections.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said they will oppose efforts to use ideological policy riders to jam financial deregulation proposals through the appropriations process. Brown and Waters emphasized that this same stealth strategy was used to gut a key provision of Wall Street reform last December in the year-end government funding agreement.

The Brown-Waters letter coincides with a new ABC News/Washington Post poll showing that 67 percent of Americans would support a president who favors stricter regulations of Wall Street institutions.

The full text of the letter is below*:

October 22, 2015

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                                           The Honorable John Boehner
Majority Leader                                                                   Speaker
U.S. Senate                                                                        U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510                                                      Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Harry Reid                                                    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader   Minority Leader
United States Senate                                                          U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510                                                      Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Reid, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

We appreciate your successful efforts to pass clean legislation to fund the government through December 11, 2015.  As you continue to discuss government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, we are writing to express our opposition to appropriations riders that would roll back the protections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

While we are opposed to the inclusion of all inappropriate and ideological policy riders to funding legislation, as the Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services, we are specifically concerned about ones designed to repeal, undermine, or delay provisions of Wall Street reform.

In May, 2015, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs reported out S. 1484 along party lines.  Instead of working with Committee Democrats to find consensus to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor, Senator Shelby attached his 200-plus page bill to the Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Services and General Government (FY16 FSGG) Appropriations bill in the Appropriations Committee.  All Democratic members of the Appropriations Committee opposed this unprecedented maneuver.  Similarly, Republicans included harmful policy riders in the FY16 FSGG Appropriations bill in the House, which likewise was uniformly opposed by Democrats on that Committee.

Last year, we, and several of our colleagues, opposed the inclusion of a repeal of Section 716 of Wall Street Reform in the funding bill, because it was a key component of the law. Former Congressman Barney Frank, one of the architects of Wall Street Reform, called the inclusion of this provision “an absolute outrage,” and “a road map for stealth unwinding of financial reform.” We do not think this action well served the American public, or the public’s perception of the U.S. Congress.   

Wall Street Reform was Congress’ response to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.  It has strengthened our nation’s financial stability and provided much-needed consumer protections to millions of American families.  We hope that Congress does not make the same mistake this year by including riders that weaken Wall Street Reform in end-of-the-year funding legislation. 


Sherrod Brown
Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs


Maxine Waters
Ranking Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Financial Services

*An identical letter was sent to Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Member Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), and House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita M. Lowey (D-NY).