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Hensarling, Ryan Ridicule Democrats on Community Banks Stance

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) took aim this week at Democrats’ stance on community bank regulations by criticizing their support for the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

After Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) indicated she supports Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s plan to provide regulatory relief for community banks, Hensarling said Warren was acting hypocritical with her endorsement.

“Bless her heart, Professor Warren is hoping we’ve all got collective amnesia and don’t remember that she attacked community banks at a hearing just last year because they had the audacity to ask Congress for relief from the crushing regulatory burdens she wholeheartedly supports,” Hensarling said Thursday in an emailed statement.

His office pointed to comments Warren made at a Senate Banking Committee hearing last year indicating she is skeptical of giving small institutions relief from Dodd-Frank regulations.

“The financial performance of community banks of the community banks shows that Congress and the regulators, I think, have done a pretty good job of tailoring the rules to protect community banks,” Warren said at the February 2015 hearing. “We should be very skeptical of regulatory relief bills that are promoted as helping small banks but are pushed by ABA lobbyists for the big banks,” she said, referring to the American Bankers Association.

Hensarling also took issue with Warren’s critique of his Dodd-Frank replacement plan, the Financial CHOICE Act.

“The Financial CHOICE Act offers regulatory relief and no more bailouts,” he said. “That’s why she opposes it and instead supports Dodd-Frank, which has helped make big banks bigger.”

In June, Warren said Hensarling’s bill “should be called the Big Wet Kiss for Wall Street Act” because “the bill’s proposals come straight off the Wall Street wish list.”

On Friday, Ryan’s office also criticized Dodd-Frank, referring to the law as part of President Obama’s “liberal legacy.”

“This legislative behemoth is over 2,300 pages long and requires federal regulators to write some 400 rules — all of which are hurting our community banks,” Ryan’s press office wrote. “There is a better way to protect our economy and expand opportunity. House Republicans have put out a plan to expand banking services to low-income families and to lay down clear, firm rules for job creators and workers.”