WASHINGTON Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Monday that the Obama administration will continue to defend the Dodd-Frank Act amid Republican efforts to water down the law, even as one of its namesakes suggested changes to it may be necessary.
"We have seen attempts to roll back key safeguards by slipping complex provisions into unrelated bills," Lew said in remarks at an event sponsored by the reform advocacy group Better Markets commemorating the fifth anniversary of the legislation.
"This tactic of using riders on must-pass legislation to chip away at crucial financial reforms is unacceptable. Faced with bills that threaten to turn the clock back to 2008 and leave the American people vulnerable to another crippling crisis, I will recommend the President veto them."
But former Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who also spoke at the event along with former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said the bill will need adjustments over time.
"There will probably be things down the road you are going to want to change and modify," Dodd said. "There is nothing radical about that idea and there will probably be some unintended consequences."
Dodd acknowledged criticism that Dodd-Frank did not tackle housing finance reform, saying that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "still need to be dealt with."
He added that at the time the Dodd-Frank bill was being crafted, lawmakers sought to reform the housing finance system but "we just couldn't come up with an answer that was going to be satisfactory on Fannie and Freddie."
Frank was also critical of lawmakers who have contended that the Dodd-Frank Act disproportionately burdens community banks with overly cumbersome regulation.
"To the extent that the bill treats different size banks differently is all in favor of the community bank," Frank said.
He noted that the law included several provisions to assist small banks, including lowering deposit insurance assessments and a higher deposit insurance limit.
He added that he believes a lot of the efforts to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act are rhetoric and that by 2020 it will "take root," with calls for repealing the law fading.