WASHINGTON — Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, the chairman of the House financial institutions subcommittee, said Wednesday that he plans to reintroduce a bill that would change the way banks are designated as systemically important.
The bill would remove the $50 billion asset threshold established by the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with an indicator test that focuses on measures including size, interconnectedness, cross-border activities and complexity. The Missouri Republican introduced the bill in the last Congress and it eventually passed the House despite Democratic opposition.
“We are going to reintroduce that bill,” Luetkemeyer said at an event sponsored by the law firm Jones Walker. “It’s important to put in statute that you take into consideration … different things, not just size. You force the examiners to do their job, which is assess risk.”
Democrats will likely oppose the bill because Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who now chairs the Financial Stability Oversight Council, would be in charge of establishing the test if the bill became law.
The legislation is separate from a bill being pushed by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, which more broadly would allow banks to face a simpler capital regime in return for complying with a 10% leverage ratio. Luetkemeyer expressed support for Hensarling's Financial Choice Act.
“We are looking forward to refining the bill … in the next week or two and having a hearing sometime in late March and hopefully get it out of the House sometime in late April,” Luetkemeyer said.
He added that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been engaged with the process and are “supportive of the Choice Act.”
“There is a little bit of something in there for everybody,” Luetkemeyer said. “There are some banks that don’t like some of the things, but there is something in there I can point to that will help every single bank.”
However, the bill has an unlikely path through the Senate, where Democrats will surely oppose the bill and Republicans won’t have the votes to overcome a filibuster.
"Don't get me wrong. Dodd-Frank is far from perfect," said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who spoke at the same event earlier in the day. But "you are not going to find me repealing that or gutting it like the House of Representatives ... with the Choice Act."