WASHINGTON — All 10 Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee sent a joint letter Friday that said they plan to oppose a regulatory relief bill scheduled for a panel vote next week since Republicans have not yet provided legislative language to all members.
The move casts doubt on whether a vote will be held May 14 as planned. In their letter, the Democrats told Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., they objected to his plans to hold a markup on a "broad" bill "without giving all committee Democrats time to analyze and review your proposal."
"Given that you have not shared text of the legislation with all members of the Banking Committee, we are writing to inform you that we will be united in opposition if you go forward as planned," said the letter, which was circulated publicly by the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the committee's ranking member.
Shelby offered some hints about what might be included in a relief bill during remarks last month before the Independent Community Bankers of America. He sounded some support for potential changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's "qualified mortgage" standard, as well as for extending the examination cycle for well-performing banks.
The bill is also expected to tackle the Dodd-Frank Act's provision that said all banks with more than $50 billion of assets should be subject to higher capital and liquidity standards. Exactly how Shelby planned to address the issue is unclear, with some suggesting he might move to scrap the threshold altogether.
The Democrats said while they share Shelby's desire to move a relief package that could be enacted into law, they objected to any strategy to advance a more ambitious proposal too quickly. The Democrats are concerned the bill will seek too many changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, instead of more limited alterations they might support. While Republicans control the Senate, they need at least some Democratic votes to ensure any bill would be able to overcome a potential filibuster.
"Last week, you told the Independent Community Bankers of America that the Committee will move whatever is doable, and we agree. We are ready, willing, and able to work with you to provide regulatory relief to financial institutions like community banks and credit unions," the Democrats said. "However, a markup in one week on a broader proposal will not lead to a positive outcome."