WASHINGTON — Projections for the midterm elections raise the prospect of Democratic gains, particularly in the House. But would a flip of power in the lower chamber lead to real policy change for banks, or just a change in rhetoric?
The GOP's clean sweep in the 2016 election was broadly favorable to banks, but midterms usually favor the opposition party. The political analysis newsletter Sabato's Crystal Ball, from Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, said Thursday that the two parties have "equal odds
" of taking the House majority. Others argue the Democrats are the favorites
to win the House.
Effects on banking policy of a House flip would likely stop short of regulatory toughening. Most analysts still project the GOP to hold on to the Senate, and there will still be a Republican in the White House come January. The recent package of provisions rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act
will remain the law of the land.
But a Democratic takeover in the House would upend the chamber's priorities, slowing down regulatory relief initiatives, putting more heat on Trump-appointed regulators who appear before the congressional committees, and giving Democratic leaders a bigger soapbox to criticize the industry and push for reforms that could expand regulatory burden.
Here are four banking-policy effects of a potential party flip in the House: