Friday, September 23, 2016

Garrett Blasts Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Over the Different set of rules for Government Officials for lavish Wall Street Pay Packages

September 23,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Rep. Scott Garrett, (NJ-05) Chairman of the subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises,  delivered the following opening remarks at Financial Services Committee hearing entitled, “The Annual Report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council” featuring Treasury Secretary Jack Lew:

Congressman Scott Garrett’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Secretary, it’s great to see you again.  I understand you were a tough man to nail down to testify today – I guess I would be too if my job was defending FSOC

So we’re starting to get to that point in this Administration’s tenure where people inevitably start to talk about the “legacy” it will leave behind

Unfortunately, when it comes to FSOC, the Obama Administration’s legacy will be remembered as one of secrecy, obfuscation, and a continued refusal to answer questions or provide transparency to either Congress or the American public

Thankfully, it’s not just us in the legislative branch that have taken notice

The recent court decision invalidating the designation of MetLife is a reminder to all of us we live in a system governed by the rule of law and not the rule of bureaucrats. 

I hope the Treasury Secretary understands this as well, and I look forward to his answers before our Committee today.

Rep. Scott Garrett had a lively interaction with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at yesterday's Financial Services Committee oversight hearing. Garrett addressed Lew's scandal ridden record at Citibank directly causing the layoff of over 50,000 employees requiring a taxpayer bailout.

When the dust settled, we learned that as usual there are a different set of rules and standards for high-ranking government officials--like Secretary Lew--when it comes to lavish Wall Street pay packages.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"the CHOICE Act offers us a way out by pointing us towards a system that will allow the market to determine the risk of a financial institution, and make it unlikely that taxpayers will ever be called on again to bail out Wall Street and the bad decisions of regulators who oversee it" Rep. Scott Garrett CD5

Norbert Michel / @norbertjmichel / September 20, 2016

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the House Financial Services Committee passed the Financial CHOICE Act. Among other needed financial reforms, the bill would make taxpayer-funded bailouts of big banks less likely and ease regulations that hurt community banks.

It’s hardly a surprise that the vote (30–26) was largely along party lines, but some of the anti-CHOICE Act rhetoric was disturbing. Just as with the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, it appears that fear-mongering and special interest lobbying will prevent real financial reforms from even being debated.

Only one of the bill’s 11 sections deals with reform of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but opponents are doing their best to tie this entire debate to the CFPB and Wells Fargo. In the process, they’re presenting Americans with a false choice: leave the CFPB alone and remain safe, or reform the CFPB and drown in fraud.

Ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., proclaimed:

We need to look no further than just last week to see why we need a strong Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which used its authorities under Dodd-Frank to uncover a massive scheme under which millions of consumer accounts at Wells Fargo were fraudulently opened, with the bulk of this fraud perpetrated in my hometown of Los Angeles.

One serious problem with this logic is that the fraud occurred just prior to 2014, almost two years after the CFPB was up and running. And the CFPB didn’t uncover it.

If the CFPB is so vital for fraud protection, what happened?

But what good is logic when the objective is to scare everyone into believing Dodd-Frank and the CFPB make us safer? Fear-mongering is a tried and true Washington tactic, especially when it comes to financial markets.

And it’s not just politicians who use fear-mongering. Special interest groups use the same ploy, and the retail trade associations’ opposition to the CHOICE Act’s repealing of the so-called Durbin Amendment is the perfect example.

The Durbin Amendment, named after Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, imposed a price cap on the debit card interchange (“swipe”) fees that banks charge for using their cards. Supposedly, retailers everywhere were going to pass these savings on to their consumers.

As was easily predicted, consumers haven’t saved at all. Even Barney Frank admits that consumers didn’t see any benefit from the price cap.

Instead, retailers have benefited from the lower fees without lowering their customers’ prices. Worse, consumers have lost out on low-cost banking services because banks raised other fees to compensate for their lost revenue.

Need more evidence?

It’s not the consumers clamoring for the House to leave price controls in place. It is business and retail trade associations, such as the National Grocers Association, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, and the National Restaurant Association.

There’s no doubt that these groups’ members have a difficult time running a profitable business, but so does everyone. Instead of pushing back on the CHOICE Act over one tiny section—one that would benefit millions of consumers—these groups should push for large-scale relief of the regulations that make it so difficult for their members to earn money.

Supporting the types of reforms in the CHOICE Act would be a great place to start.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

House Committee Approves Garrett Promoted Financial CHOICE Act to end Corporate Bailouts

September 14,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood bog

Washington DC, Legislation to end bailouts for big banks, toughen penalties for wrongdoing on Wall Street, promote economic growth, and provide desperately needed regulatory relief for small community banks and credit unions passed the House Financial Services Committee 30-26 today.

The legislation – the Financial CHOICE Act – ends the Dodd-Frank Act’s taxpayer-funded bailouts of large financial institutions; relieves banks that elect to be strongly capitalized from growth-strangling regulation that slows the economy and harms consumers; imposes tougher penalties on those who commit financial fraud; and demands greater accountability from Washington regulators.

“Democrats just voted against a bill that increases penalties against those who commit financial fraud. They just voted against a bill that ends taxpayer-funded bailouts, and they just voted against legislation that provides relief from Washington’s crushing regulatory burden for small banks, credit unions and consumers,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the sponsor of the bill.

“The bill holds Wall Street accountable with the toughest, strongest, strictest penalties ever – far greater than those in Dodd-Frank. And as recent headlines attest, obviously stronger penalties are needed. It requires banks to be well capitalized to prevent another financial crisis and puts in place the toughest penalties in history to protect consumers from fraud and deception.

“The Financial CHOICE Act will help grow the economy for all Americans, not just those at the top. It promotes strong and transparent markets to revitalize job creation in our poorest communities and ensures every American has the opportunity to achieve financial independence, no matter where they start out in life.”

The Financial CHOICE Act, which stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs, received strong support from community banks and credit unions, small business groups and conservative organizations. Large financial institutions did not offer their support for the bill.

Democrats on the Committee – despite having spent months criticizing the Financial CHOICE Act – refused to offer a single amendment to the bill.

For more information on the Financial CHOICE Act, visit

Organizations offering praise for the Financial CHOICE Act include the following:

“The [Financial CHOICE Act] would provide meaningful regulatory relief to help community banks foster economic and job growth in their local communities.” — Independent Community Bankers of America

“This bill provides significant regulatory relief essential to restoring economic growth. Republican members of Congress have repeatedly promised to get rid of Dodd-Frank and stop taxpayer funded bailouts. Now they have the opportunity to fulfill that promise by bringing the Financial Choice Act to a vote in the House and Senate, and sending the bill to the President’s desk.” — Heritage Action

“Chairman Hensarling’s CHOICE Act would be a win for Main Street consumers, workers and small businesses. Since Dodd-Frank was passed in 2010, access to free-checking has decreased while lobbyists’ importance has increased. The CHOICE Act helps reverse this trend.” — Main Street Growth Project

“Americans for Prosperity applauds your leadership in reining in the overbearing financial regulations that threaten growth and threaten consumer financial stability. Repealing and replacing the failed policies established in the Dodd-Frank Act will mean that Americans will have greater access to capital, which will lead to greater job growth, personal wealth, and overall economic prosperity. We are proud to support the CHOICE Act, and we urge your colleagues to support it.” — Americans for Prosperity

“….[the Financial CHOICE Act] is precisely the right combination to get the American economy moving again. The CHOICE Act offers sensible regulatory relief for qualifying institutions, protects the American taxpayer and consumer from another Wall Street meltdown, and holds federal financial regulatory agencies accountable.” — Independent Bankers Association of Texas

“….several components of this legislation target reforms specifically to facilitate investment in small business. The inclusion of these provisions and others will provide regulatory relief and modernization that will allow the private sector to fuel economic growth in our 21st century economy.” — Small Business Investor Alliance

“This is an important bill that will truly reform rules governing the financial system, encourage innovation across the system, vastly improve access to capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and transform a regulatory structure that lacks accountability, is too secretive, and ignores its responsibilities concerning small businesses.” — Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

“We greatly appreciate the Chairman’s efforts in Title III of the bill to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau). This title will help to ensure the Bureau serves as a non-partisan regulator that operates within the framework of the law by giving Congress more oversight authority, taking into account the opinions of all stakeholders, and properly weighing the impact its regulations have on the availability of credit.” — Consumer Bankers Association

“NAR is pleased that the FCA [Financial CHOICE Act] includes provisions that will enhance transparency, accountability and fairness in our financial system. As a result, the FCA will help expand financial product choice and promote economic opportunity. These provisions are an important step towards making property ownership a reality for hardworking Americans and U.S. businesses.” – National Association of Realtors

“If we want the economy to improve — if we want to give all Americans the chance to prosper again — we need to put an end to Washington’s destructive regulatory agenda once and for all. Thankfully, an increasing number of elected officials in Washington are fighting against the harmful effects and unintended consequences of these onerous regulations. Leading the fight in Congress has been House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), who recently outlined a comprehensive plan to turbocharge the American economy. His new legislation, The Financial CHOICE Act, aims to curb regulations to create opportunity and choice for investors, consumers, and entrepreneurs nationwide.” — Conservative Coalition Letter of Support

“If signed into law, the bill would end the era of too big to fail, and would move banking and financial decisions away from Beltway and back to Main Street. This bill is balanced, meets key conservative criteria, and should continue to move through the House to final passage.” — FreedomWorks

“….[the Financial CHOICE Act] would begin the process of implementing sensible, necessary reforms to the U.S. financial system. That system has been saddled with an ineffective regulatory structure and an array of conflicting legislative and regulatory requirements that, individually or collectively, constrain growth. The Chamber believes the Financial Choice Act is a positive first step for unlocking the capital markets to better facilitate the financing of America’s economic growth and job creation.” — U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“….the CHOICE Act offers a strong alternative to Dodd-Frank and the regulatory morass it created. Rather than creating a flurry of complex rules in response to the financial crisis, Congress should have mandated higher capital requirements for financial institutions. That is why NTU is enthusiastic about the CHOICE Act’s “off ramp” from the bulk of the current Dodd Frank regulatory regime.” — National Taxpayers Union

“….the CHOICE Act and the substantial regulatory relief it provides…will generate meaningful economic and job growth in our communities.” — Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America

“….[the Financial CHOICE Act] address[es] the challenging credit conditions that home builders and home buyers continue to experience as a result of an overly zealous regulatory response to the financial crisis. NAHB appreciates your efforts to initiate regulatory reform to support a more robust recovery.” — National Association of Home Builders

“….it is vital that we take heed of any policy that claims to “fix” the voluntary actions of consumers. Price controls go against everything we stand for as a country and do nothing but redistribute wealth, damaging the lives of hardworking Americans. The first step forward is reform. The Financial CHOICE Act is that first step.” — Red State

“….the Financial Choice Act if passed will restore competition in the marketplace by removing arbitrary government price caps. Additionally, it will allow banks the ability to recoup the money they spend on fraud protection from the retailers that reap the benefit of the use of debit cards. Consumers will once again have affordable access to basic banking services, and small businesses will have the freedom to negotiate processing fees that make sense based on the type of goods they sell. In short, all true conservatives in Congress should rally behind Neugebauer and Hensarling’s bill, because it will cut back on big government red tape and allow the free market to thrive again.” — Liberty Unyielding

Friday, September 09, 2016

Garrett Bill to Make it easier for American Innovators to Raise Money Passes House

September 8,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House passed a legislative package to help American innovators access capital that included Rep. Scott Garrett’s (NJ-05) Private Placement Improvement Act. The Accelerating Access to Capital Act, H.R. 2357, is a package of three bills that will help level the playing field and make it possible for small businesses to raise capital by lessening the burdens of complex and costly securities regulations imposed by Washington. Garrett is Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises.

“If we want bigger paychecks and more opportunity in New Jersey, it starts with ending the excessive regulations from Washington that are hurting our economy,” said Garrett. “Instead of clearing a path for success, federal regulations cost small businesses with less than 20 employees 45 percent more per employee than their larger counterparts, essentially stepping on innovators at a time when they are most vulnerable.

“The Accelerating Access to Capital Act recognizes that having one-size-fits-all federal regulations that make no distinction between someone just starting out and some of the biggest companies in the world is inherently unfair. We can, and must, level this playing field by tailoring regulations to smaller businesses to help the next great American success story. Today’s vote was a good first step.”

The Private Placement Improvement Act would prohibit the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from implementing onerous requirements on companies that raise capital through private channels. Despite statutory requirements to promote capital formation, the SEC has largely failed to prioritize streamlining regulations that could help small companies access investment capital.