Banks and credit unions play a vital role in the development of Idaho’s economy. By issuing loans and other credit and capital products, businesses are able to grow their operations and hire more people. For families, these services are essential for everyday needs, paying for college, and saving for retirement.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, I will continue to drive an agenda that reforms and modernizes our financial sector to handle the challenges of a rapidly changing banking, finance and housing market. I am focused on economic growth, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses, while also protecting consumers and taxpayers against the risks that have caused past economic collapses.
In reforming our financial markets, we cannot continue to implement expansive, one-size-fits-all regulations. Together, the hundreds of Dodd-Frank rules and regulations are far too complex, offering confusing and often contradictory standards. The resulting cumulative impact and regulatory uncertainty keeps private sector money on the sidelines that could be better utilized in creating jobs and improving the economy. In 2018, Congress successfully passed and the President signed into law the first major financial regulatory reform bill since Dodd-Frank’s implementation, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155), which I led and sponsored as Chairman of the Banking Committee. This bill was the result of a years-long process of bipartisan negotiations, and one of the few pieces of legislation ushered through Congress through regular order.
This Banking Committee bill right-sizes regulations for smaller financial institutions, freeing up resources and making it easier for them extend credit, loans, mortgages and other products or services to consumers and communities. It also increases important consumer protections for veterans, senior citizens, victims of fraud, and those who fall on tough financial times. The reforms included in this law will help tailor the current regulatory landscape while ensuring safety and soundness of the financial system. This was an important first step in right-sizing regulation, and I will continue to look for more bipartisan opportunities to reduce red tape on Main Street and promote economic growth.
When it comes to housing finance, our current system is unsustainable, leaves taxpayers exposed to potentially trillions of dollars in liabilities, and has left the mortgage market in a state of limbo, forcing private capital out of the market. I am committed to advocating for reforms that will protect taxpayers, end the government conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and promote the re-entry of private capital into our housing finance system.