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US House passes Financial CHOICE Act


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US House passes Financial CHOICE Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act, capping off months of hearings and debate between lawmakers about the overhaul of financial regulations.

The vote passed 233-186 with one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, voting no. No Democrats voted yes.

The bill would dramatically reduce the power and scope of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and strip the Financial Stability Oversight Council's authority to designate companies as systemically important financial institutions. Opponents of the bill say it would roll back essential protections and safeguards put into place after the financial crisis.

In addition, the bill would require financial regulatory agencies to run cost-benefit analyses on proposed rules with an economic impact of $100 million or more a year, as well as repeal the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, which has come under fire from companies and Republican lawmakers who say the rule allows the department to meddle in adviser-client relationships.

But chances of the legislation passing the Senate remain slim as the controversial bill unified Democrats in opposition to it. Because Senate Republicans hold a slight majority of 52 seats, Republicans will be forced to concede some ground to Democrats in order to clear the 60-vote threshold to defeat a filibuster.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has long opposed the bill and said in a statement ahead of the vote that Democrats may work with Republicans on the bill, but only to a point.

"Democrats have shown we’re willing to work with Republicans to tailor the rules where it makes sense, but not if it means killing the reforms that have made the financial system safer and fairer," he said.

Hensarling indicated in late May that he was working with Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, to pass significant portions of the law. Hensarling declined to specify which parts he was confident Crapo would bring before his committee.