WASHINGTON — A key Republican lawmaker welcomed Treasury Department recommendations on how to reform financial regulations and expressed optimism that many of the suggestions could become law.

“We now have a recommendation from the administration that we can start digging into,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo said Tuesday during an appearance at a conference hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and The Clearing House Association.

The Idaho Republican has pledged to work with his Democratic colleaguse on the banking panel, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, acknowledging that with only 52 votes in the Senate and subject to filibuster rules, legislation will require bipartisan support in order to become law.

“Sen. Brown and I are working together and we are approaching” statutory changes to promote economic growth “very broadly,” said Crapo, who called it "significant and robust legislation."

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, chair of the Senate Banking Committee
“There are a number of very positive things happening and many of them are happening at the executive level, because Congress has not yet been able to get legislation on the president’s desk in a number of these areas,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Bloomberg News

Crapo listed recommendations the Treasury made in a report that could become law, including regulatory relief from stress testing requirements for banks with assets of $10 billion to $50 billion and exempting banks with less than $10 billion in assets from Dodd-Frank capital requirements and the Volcker Rule.

He also suggested that the $50 billion threshold, which subjects banks to tougher regulatory standards, could be lifted to better tailor supervisory requirements as well as a restructuring of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from a single director to a bipartisan commission.

The Treasury report was the first in a series of papers that were part of a February executive order signed by President Trump to review the financial regulatory system. Several of the proposals the Treasury recommended can be accomplished by the heads of the independent financial agencies.

“There are a number of very positive things happening and many of them are happening at the executive level, because Congress has not yet been able to get legislation on the president’s desk in a number of these areas,” Crapo said.

However, he also said he hopes to subject the independent agencies to more oversight by requiring them to do a cost-benefit analysis when writing rules and requiring them to act on recommendations from an internal regulatory review process called the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act.

“Independent agencies are not bound by EGRPA. I have introduced legislation to bind them to EGRPA and force them to do a regulatory review,” Crapo said. Many independent agencies "don’t feel accountable and they were established in a way to make them less accountable. I personally think we need a little more political accountability in some of the agencies."

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