WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling insisted Thursday that a targeted Senate package to reform provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act will not be the final word on financial services policy while he still holds the gavel.
The House is expected to vote next week on the Senate bill, known as S. 2155, sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Banking Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. But Hensarling, a Texas Republican who will leave Congress at the end of this year, said the Senate is preparing to consider a series of House bills aimed at "capital formation" once Congress sends the Crapo bill to the president's desk.
“I have a commitment from [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] that we’re going to get a vote on the Senate floor for a trailing package of bills,” said Hensarling. “We do expect to be heard.”
The next round of bills Hensarling is gearing up to push through Congress focus on “the capital formation space as opposed to the deregulatory space" he said, calling it akin to a "Jobs Act 3.0."
Hensarling had previously attempted to pass significant changes to the Dodd-Frank that included restructuring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But his reg relief proposals did not draw sufficient support from Senate Democrats. Instead, the House is expected to consider the Senate bill, which largely provides regulatory relief to community banks and credit unions, as is.
Yet Hensarling was steadfast that the Senate bill would not be the end of the conversation.
"I had told everybody" that the Senate bill was, "in my opinion ... a great floor," Hensarling said. "We wanted to work on the ceiling."
When asked whether Hensarling's next package would include more controversial changes like having the CFPB run by a commission rather than a single director, Hensarling simply said, “The goal is to get something on the President’s desk and signed into law.”
Hensarling also could not say whether he had “assurances” from the Senate Democrats that they would consider a second package after the House votes on Crapo's bill.
“I have zero assurances that I will even be on the face of the earth tomorrow,” he said. “I will say that I am carrying on what I consider to be very constructive talks and a number of the [House] bills ... frankly have Democratic co-sponsors.”
Hensarling said he has “no intention of sticking around” in politics or the government after he leaves Congress, responding to rumors that he could be the next pick for director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
“Certainly, it would be tempting but my future has me going back home to Dallas, Texas,” Hensarling said.
He did, however, note he would “love” for former acting FHFA Director Edward DeMarco to return the post. The term of current FHFA Director Mel Watt, an Obama administration appointee, will expire in January.
“I’m not really sure that is in the cards,” he said of DeMarco's returning to the agency. “I prefer somebody who wants to help give us a sustainable housing finance system.”
As for congressional efforts to reform the government-sponsored enterprises, Hensarling said he would keep working at bipartisan proposals, but he did not expect a GSE reform package to get through the current Congress.
“I am still working although chances of it going through this Congress are remote on a good day,” he said. “But I am at least going to attempt to lay a foundation.”