WASHINGTON — With the one-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act approaching, House Republicans gave the financial-reform law a failing grade in a press conference Friday, saying that it has increased the size of government, hurt the economy and not solved the "Too Big to Fail" problem.
"The Dodd-Frank Act burdens the private sector with 400 new federal regulations over the next several years," said Rep. Spencer Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
The GOP has routinely attacked Dodd-Frank over the past year, and they continued that criticism Friday in colorful fashion. At the press conference, the lawmakers used a red marker to grade the law based on certain criteria including housing and the broader economy. Most of the grades were F's.
"The vast majority of these rules have created an atmosphere of uncertainty in which innovators and job creators and lenders can't put their ideas and capital to work, because they don't know the rules with which they must comply," Bachus said.
He added that the burden of regulations mandated by Dodd-Frank was falling disproportionately on small banks and credit unions.
"Our smaller institutions do not have the luxury that mega-banks have, with hundreds of employees, to analyze and ensure compliance with this blizzard of new regulations and red tape," Bachus said.
Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., another committee member, pointed out that Dodd-Frank completely overlooked an area of needed reform demonstrated in the crisis: overhauling the housing finance system now dominated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"The bottom line is that the government needs to get out of the housing business, let the private sector return, and let the free market work," she said.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, sought to link Dodd-Frank to high joblessness in the United States.
"And so what we've seen is that where we need more jobs, what we're getting is more government," he said.
Yet while Republicans have entertained the notion of repealing the law, lawmakers who spoke Friday were mum about any repeal efforts. Bachus took just one question before leaving the podium.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who is a committee member and also a presidential candidate, has introduced a repeal bill. But so far, it has only attracted seven cosponsors.
Meanwhile, committee Republicans also released a report estimating costs of implementing the law. It cited a report from the Government Accountability Office projecting that implementation will cost more than $1.25 billion.
Not surprisingly, the GOP assessment's was in stark contrast to the Obama administration's one-year progress report for Dodd-Frank. In a conference call with reporters Thursday, a Treasury Department official said the 2008 crisis made clear a sounder financial system was necessary, and that Dodd-Frank addressed the key problems.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there has been substantial progress in implementing regulations stemming from the law for derivatives, improved capital and leverage standards, setting up a consumer-protection watchdog and building a framework for resolving systemically important firms.
"From our perspective, that work is proceeding very well," the Treasury official said. "Our view is that work should be done speedily, but it should be done well."