Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) on Tuesday defended his vote to repeal some provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The House of Representatives voted 258-159 to pass a bill last week that would eliminate some parts of the controversial Dodd-Frank law, parts critics argue have hurt smaller banks and credit unions. CNN host Alisyn Camerota asked Himes why he, a liberal Democrat, voted with conservatives to pass the bill.
"Can you just explain to us in layman's terms why you took this vote?" Camerota said.
"First of all, it was a bill that passed last week in the House. It had very, you say ‘conservative Republicans,' [but] it got 67 votes in the Senate. Nothing gets 67 votes in the Senate, right, including the votes of 17 Democrats, including the vote of former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine of Virginia. So it was hardly a bill of just conservative Republicans," Himes said. "But substantively, it was aimed at fixing something that many of us have been concerned about in Dodd-Frank, which is Dodd-Frank appropriately – and I helped write Dodd-Frank a long time ago – appropriately put very significant restrictions on our banking industry."
Himes explained the regulations, however, went too far in restricting smaller banking institutions.
"The problem, of course, is that many of these restrictions don't really apply to smaller institutions, these are our credit unions and small banks on our main streets. Whereas Citibank or JP Morgan can hire 40 or 50 lawyers to deal with the new regulation, the smaller banks in many instances can't. And if you listen to the small banks as I do, because they're terribly important to our communities, they will tell you, ‘hey, there's a lot of stuff here that just doesn't make any sense,’" Himes said.
Himes argued the reform measure was "strongly bipartisan" and warned some Democrats will inaccurately say any review or adjustment to Dodd-Frank is a giveaway to Wall Street.
"In any piece of regulation, you need to be open-minded that good regulation is balanced," Himes said. "It shouldn't become a religious war between those people who want to repeal Dodd-Frank and those people who say you can't touch a single world of Dodd-Frank, or any other piece of legislation or regulation."
"This, in my mind, was a fair and very strongly bipartisan – in both the House and Senate – attempt to relieve the pressure on some of our smaller, community banks," Himes said.