Congressmen Conor Lamb and Keith Rothfus cast opposing votes Tuesday on a bill to loosen banking rules that are part of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed to try to prevent another financial crisis like that of 2008.
Lamb, D-Mt. Lebanon, voted against the change, saying the regulations were put in place to prevent banks from making risky trades with consumers’ money.
“I stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion to address the areas where these regulations can be improved to the benefit of consumers and our financial system, but today’s vote did not protect consumers first,” he said in a statement.
Rothfus, R-Sewickley, voted for the bill, saying the regulations have raised costs and reduced access to financial products.
“By fixing misguided rules from Washington, this bill will help consumers and small businesses access the financial services they need to live their version of the American Dream,” Rothfus said.
The two representatives are campaigning against each other in Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 17th Congressional District, which includes Beaver County along with parts of Allegheny and Butler counties. The bill, S. 2155, passed the House with support from 225 Republicans and 33 Democrats and now moves to the president’s desk.
The bill raises the threshold for banks that have to follow stricter rules under Dodd-Frank. Under the bill, banks with less than $250 billion in assets are exempted from the strictest rules; the threshold is $50 billion under Dodd-Frank.
The new threshold still holds the biggest banks to the stricter rules – Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America all have more than a $1 trillion in assets, and Goldman Sachs has about $917 billion. PNC Bank has about $380 billion in assets.
The bill has other exemptions for banks with less than $10 billion in assets, such as WesBanco and S&T Bank. Lamb and Rothfus both supported a House bill in April that would have eased rules for those banks only.