Opinion Columns & Blogs

Repealing Obama’s regulatory nightmare

By U.S. Rep. Ron Estes

It’s clear to most Kansans how Obamacare has harmed their families (doubled their premiums and taken away medical choices), but the same can’t be said about the harm that’s been created by the Dodd-Frank financial law.

Dodd-Frank, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010, added thousands of rules and regulations for financial institutions to follow. While this has been workable for the largest banks, the cost to rural and community banks has been unbearable, and many have had to close. In fact, an average of one small bank or credit union closes each day.

This has led to a credit crunch that has left many Americans unable to obtain financing to buy a home or start a business. The magnitude of the situation is such that there have only been three new small banks created in the United States since 2010.

The scale of regulations added is incredible. Dodd-Frank added almost 28,000 new rules, which is more than every other law passed under the Obama administration combined. Instead of helping to prevent future crises, Dodd-Frank has only complicated the law and the marketplace by hindering smaller, local lenders — those most likely to finance local projects or support the creation of small businesses.

This is why the Financial CHOICE Act, which I have cosponsored, is so important. This act will unwind Dodd-Frank regulations by following these conservative principles: No company is too big to fail, simplicity must replace complexity, economic growth is driven by competition, and consumers must be protected from fraud.

By following these, the CHOICE Act will rein in the overreach of the government and will restore a competitive free market system to banking. It will greatly simplify regulations that small banks face and will allow new companies to find the financing they need.

The Financial CHOICE Act will accomplish what Dodd-Frank was designed to do — hold banks accountable while allowing economic growth. From our rural counties to downtown Wichita, local and community banks will once again be able to help grow the economies of Kansas communities and provide startups with the financing they need to expand and create jobs.

And unlike Dodd-Frank, it won’t allow any banks to be artificially designated as “too big to fail” or to allow taxpayer-funded bailouts when a large bank’s bet goes south.

Finally, as a fiscal conservative, I’m proud that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that this bill will save the government over $24 billion over the next 10 years by eliminating unnecessary regulations. Kansans have rightfully demanded that we restore fiscally accountability to the taxpayers who pay the bills — the Financial CHOICE Act is an important step in accomplishing this.

Ron Estes represents Kansas’ Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Small Business Committee.