Ryan Proposes House Republican Plan to Ease U.S. Regulations

  • Plan would scale back Dodd-Frank law enacted after 2008 crisis
  • Speaker’s agenda intended to unite Republicans before election

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 19, 2015.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday unveiled a regulatory overhaul plan that includes scaling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, expanding energy production on federal land and limiting lawsuits against businesses.

The wide-ranging proposal is the third plank of a six-part policy agenda that Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, and other House leaders are releasing to unify the party ahead of November elections.

"No major regulation should become law unless Congress takes a vote,” Ryan said during a news conference outside of the Labor Department building in Washington. “Most of us have no idea what goes on behind those walls" as the government carries out regulatory actions, he said.

The document describes familiar conservative themes such as reducing paperwork and over-regulation of small businesses, along with balancing economic growth and environmental stewardship. The report suggests how to better regulate some areas of the economy and questions whether regulations are needed in others.

"The American people now spend $1.89 trillion every year just to comply with Washington’s rules -- approximately $15,000 per household," according to a 57-page report outlining Ryan’s plans. "From heath care and finance to manufacturing and energy, job creators spend more time jumping through hoops than expanding opportunities."

Hensarling Plan

Much of the financial-services section of the plan is similar to legislation outlined earlier this month by House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas to overhaul the Dodd-Frank law, which was enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

The plan would revamp the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by turning it into a bipartisan, five-member commission subject to budget oversight by Congress. Ryan’s plan said the current bureau’s director is unaccountable and that the agency’s powers allow it to regulate the financial industry in ways that micromanage consumers’ lives.

The plan also would seek to revoke regulators’ ability to determine which companies are systemically important, reduce costs for community banks, and exempt highly capitalized banks from some of the strictest regulations that stemmed from Dodd-Frank.

Ryan’s plan incorporates other legislation that would wind down government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and prohibit new Obama administration rules that require U.S. brokers managing retirement accounts to put customers’ interests ahead of their own.  

Trump on Regulations

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has said he would undo federal regulations that burden businesses. He also has called for changes to the Dodd-Frank law.

The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers of Michigan, said in a statement that government regulations accomplish worthwhile goals.

“Economic studies have shown that regulations help our economy, not burden it,” Conyers said. “More importantly, regulations ensure better working conditions, a cleaner environment, and safer and more innovative products.”

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