Frank Geng is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate editor of the Penn Undergraduate Law Journal.
It seems these days that we might be hard-pressed to find an issue that both Democrats and Republicans could agree on—let alone agree to co-pilot legislation. That will be the case, however, in the coming weeks as a group of three Republicans, two Democrats, and one independent prepare to introduce a piece of legislation that would reexamine the rule-making process of Wall Street regulators. Ostensibly to bring financial regulation standards more in line with the executive branch, the law will most likely create more obstacles to the already lengthy process enacting Wall Street oversight. “Reform is badly needed,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren noted, “but this package heads in the wrong direction, giving lobbyists and lawyers more chances to block outcomes they don’t like.”  On a broader conceptual level, it comes down to the fundamental differences in how we view the economic consequences of regulation. But on a more mechanical level, this regulatory package seems to be a simple helping-hand to the candidates’ biggest backers.
On the specifics of the legislation, it would seem that many of the legislation’s components create unnecessary extra steps in the rulemaking process. The central theme of the bill is to mandate serious cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) to any new regulatory moves. One of the provisions, for example, would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to perform these CBA reviews.  Coincidentally, the CBO has never dealt specifically with this type of analysis or task and as such, would stand to further delay the process without any particular value-added. Another core distraction of the legislation is the provision that suggests the creation of a new commission of appointed politicians to suggest regulatory modifications or repeals.  The preliminary logic would suggest that it’s simply a concern regarding any regulations that currently exist. This is not to say, however, that this process does not already exist nor does it mandate the creation of an independent panel to subvert regulatory independence in these financial watchdogs. The Dodd-Frank Act, for example, was primarily an attempt to reexamine and modify rules enacted before the financial crisis.