By Pete Schroeder
(Reuters) – The chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday he wants to pass a major piece of bank reform legislation by early next year at the latest.
Senator Mike Crapo, a Republican, intends to go beyond rewriting the 2010 Dodd Frank financial reform legislation and craft a bipartisan bill that advances economic growth and capital formation, he told attendees at a Chamber of Commerce event focused on capital markets.
“My hope is … that is either late this year or early next year. I’m not looking further than that,” Crapo said.
Crapo’s agenda is being intensely watched on Wall Street, as his committee is widely seen as playing a critical role in crafting any rewrite of Dodd Frank.
That 2010 law was enacted after the financial crisis, and the industry is eager to see if Republicans now in charge of the White House and Congress can significantly relax its requirements. Some of the Dodd Frank provisions that are most contentious prohibit banks from some higher risk investments and require higher capital requirements of the biggest banks.
A bill that attacks Dodd Frank directly is set to be introduced in the House of Representatives soon by Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the Financial Services Committee. But that bill is seen as a tough Republican approach that may not garner enough support in the Senate to be passed.
Crapo said meaningful reforms would require a bipartisan approach, and he is working closely with Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the committee, to find areas of common ground.
He also said he wants to go beyond simply revisiting Dodd Frank’s provisions and look more broadly at all rules and policies that impact economic growth, an approach he said might encourage Democrats to vote with him. He said he expects Congress to address financial regulatory reform after it finishes work on a tax reform bill.
Crapo did concede that the current political environment is tough for passing controversial legislation in the Senate, and others in his party said they intend to push some of their favored Dodd Frank revisions through a budget process that would not require much Democratic support.
(Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)