In computer programming I have always been a proponent of naming data items, objects, programs, files, etc with names that essentially describe what they do or what they contain. Makes sense…but it’s not always followed and often leads to misunderstandings and code errors years later.
Which brings us to the Name That Bill What It Is Bill. One of the bills that the Republicans tried to fast track through Congress this past week pulls a few more teeth from Dodd-Frank that was designed to prevent another banking recession like the one just past AND reverse the Volcker rule, “the regulation intended to reduce speculative trading activities among federally insured banks”.
But just like the Right to Work bill…which protects no rights whatsoever much less the right to work…which we all already enjoy…this dangerous and reckless financial bill is named: Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. Like Wall Street is a Small Business…and doesn’t have a phalanx of accountants and lawyers at its beck and call to defend itself. Sheesh:
The 114th Congress has been at work for less than a week, but a goal for many of its members is already evident: a further rollback of regulations put in place to keep markets and Main Street safe from reckless Wall Street practices.
The attack began with a bill that narrowly failed in a fast-track vote on Wednesday in the House of Representatives. It is scheduled to come up again in the House this week.
The bill, introduced by Representative Michael Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has three troublesome elements. First, it would let large banks hold on to certain risky securities until 2019, two years longer than currently allowed. It would also prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission from regulating private equity firms that conduct some securities transactions. And, finally, the bill would make derivatives trading less transparent, allowing unseen risks to build up in the system.
Of course, you wouldn’t know any of this from the name of the bill: the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. Or from the mild claim that the bill was intended only “to make technical corrections” to the Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010.
A central element of the bill chipped away at part of the Volcker Rule, the regulation intended to reduce speculative trading activities among federally insured banks.
We need a Truth In Legislating Bill…
BTW: they tried to fast track this as a non-controversial bill…which it might seem given its title.
The bill was put forward on the second day of the new Congress, in an expedited process, which didn’t allow for debate among members. This process is supposed to be reserved for noncontroversial bills and requires support from a two-thirds majority to prevail. It fell just short of achieving that level, with a vote of 276 to 146, overwhelmingly backed by Republicans and opposed by most Democrats.
I am not particularly eager to relive the recent recession…and I hardly think rolling back banking regulation at this point is non-controversial…legislation controlling banking activity certainly deserves the requisite vetting, discussion, and hearings…not a quicky vote through Congress.