WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following remarks on the Financial CHOICE Act, the Republican plan to rein in Dodd-Frank and revitalize Main Street. Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“I want to thank Chairman Hensarling and the entire Financial Services Committee for their leadership on this important legislation.
“The Financial CHOICE Act answers a need at the very heart of our economy. We have heard about this need time and time again from our constituents back home. I sure have.
“Small businesses are struggling. They have been unable to hire, invest or get the loans they need to get off the ground. Families looking to keep their money safe are hit with fees they can’t afford. And why? Our community banks are in trouble.
“They are being crushed by the costly rules imposed on them by the Dodd-Frank Act. This law may have had good intentions, but its consequences have been dire for Main Street.
“Let me put it this way: It is more than a thousand pages long and has more rules and regulations than any other Obama-era law. The burdens created are real.
“These costs are unsustainable for small, community banks, who cannot afford to meet all the requirements and can't hire a team of lawyers to decipher the seemingly endless rules. So they are hunkering down, unable to loan out money, or worse—they are shutting down.
“The CHOICE Act reins in Dodd-Frank and delivers the regulatory relief these banks so desperately need. This will change our communities because these small banks are the lifeblood of our Main Streets.
“They know the needs of their communities and the ability to identify the people who can fill those needs successfully. There is a reason why they handle the vast majority of small business loans in this country.
“Here is the difference: The people big banks may overlook, thinking it’s some guy with a pipe dream, the community banker is able to recognize as a father of four with the drive to make his dream of a bicycle shop into a reality. Or a woman seeking to rent out retail space to open her dream restaurant, using her family's recipes. Or a young farmer with a new idea to integrate the latest technology into the family farm.
“A couple years later, with the help of loans from their local banks, these so-called pipe dreams are successful small businesses employing dozens of people in small towns and rural counties across the nation. These are the success stories that our communities are built on.
“This is why the Financial CHOICE Act is so important. It helps community banks—and the small businesses that depend upon them—thrive. It protects consumers by increasing accountability and transparency over the wider financial sector. It also repeals 'too big to fail' – the rules codified by Dodd-Frank that have left taxpayers on the hook for too long.
“But ultimately, the Financial CHOICE Act is a jobs bill, and one that will bring hope back to Main Street. It is easy to talk about the economy and regulations as a series of numbers. It is easy to talk in vague terms about ‘job creators’ and ‘small business owners.’ But what is far more important is identifying the problems they face and actually doing something to help them and make a difference in their lives.
“That is what the CHOICE Act is all about. It is why we were sent here: to look out for the people who work hard and do the right thing. So let’s get this done for them. Let’s get this done for the people who take risks…who live and breathe their work…for the people who strive and struggle every day for their families.
“Let’s pass the CHOICE Act today.”
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