Trump signs bill to ease key restraints on banks


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed into law a measure that loosens key restraints for banks imposed after the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession. Savoring the legislative triumph, he called it “the next step in America’s unprecedented economic comeback.”

The Republican-crafted bill passed Congress on Tuesday with the help of some Democratic votes and allowed Trump to fulfill his campaign pledge of dismantling the landmark Dodd-Frank law. The 2010 law was enacted by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress in response to the crisis that brought millions of lost jobs and foreclosed homes, and a taxpayer bailout of hundreds of billions for banks on Wall Street and beyond.

Trump held a signing ceremony at the White House not long after announcing the cancellation of his planned June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The new law raises the threshold at which banks are deemed so big and plugged into the financial grid that if one were to fail it would cause major havoc. Such banks are subject to stricter capital and planning requirements.

Trump is gaining a major building block in his drive for business-friendly policy changes and easing of regulations that he says have stifled lending, economic growth and job creation.

“As a candidate, I pledged that we would rescue these community banks from Dodd-Frank, the disaster of Dodd-Frank, and now we are keeping that commitment,” Trump said at the signing event in the Roosevelt Room.

Trump thanked the lawmakers at the event for playing a role in moving the legislation through the Senate and later the House. A lone Democrat also was there: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, among the 16 Democrats who voted for the legislation when it passed the Senate in March. Heitkamp, who won her seat six years ago by only 3,000 votes, is facing a tight re-election race in a state Trump easily carried in the 2016 presidential race.

The banking law also adds to Trump’s marquee pro-business legislative achievement, the sweeping tax bill enacted late last year that deeply cut taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals and offered more modest reductions for most ordinary Americans.

The law makes a fivefold increase, to $250 billion, in the level of assets at which banks are deemed to pose a major threat if they fail.

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