Representative Kevin Yoder, who spearheaded this week's changes to the Dodd-Frank financial law's regulation of swaps transactions, has a message for Senator Elizabeth Warren: expect more pro-business changes in next year's spending bills.
"We have a created a model," the Kansas Republican said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg Government's Congress Tracker. "This bipartisan success shows a pathway to solving other issues in the financial services area." The Yoder provision, inserted into the 2015 omnibus spending bill, will allow some companies to forgo spinning off their swaps activities to non-bank affiliates, and maintain access to federal assistance.
The hardball tactic of attaching Dodd-Frank language into an urgent spending bill could be replicated when the fiscal year ends and lawmakers again will be trying to get government funding in place by Oct. 1 to avoid a shutdown. Among other changes, Yoder wants to block funding for a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission planned regulation to protect pension funds from getting investment guidance from financial advisers with conflicts of interest.
President Barack Obama, who signed the omnibus with the Yoder language on Tuesday, doesn't intend to allow more Dodd- Frank rollbacks to become law, Jeffrey Zients, director of the White House's National Economic Council, told reporters Thursday. "The president will not allow Dodd-Frank to be watered down," Zients said. Representative Jose Serrano of New York, the senior Democrat on the Financial Services appropriations subcommittee, agreed. "The president is not going to be signing crazy legislation," Serrano said in a telephone interview.
Holding the White House to account will be Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both of whom tried to block the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, H.R. 83, because it included Yoder's language. Warren accused Citigroup of writing the provision and having "unprecedented" control over economic policy making.
Yoder said he viewed the omnibus rider a victory for small farmers and businesses. "The hysteria by Elizabeth Warren and many of the pro-government control caucus is simply overblown," he said. Taking on Warren and her populist forces is a new role for Yoder, although he's already demonstrated a certain amount of fearlessness. Until this month, he was most widely known for jumping naked into the Sea of Galilee during a congressional delegation trip to Israel. That brought a rebuke from then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, who led the trip. Yoder apologized for the skinny-dipping.