WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Thursday he was open to passing a Senate bill easing bank rules adopted after the global financial crisis if Democrats would support his bills to reform capital markets.
The Senate last month passed a bill that seeks to ease tight restrictions on small banks included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which Republican critics tried to revise for years.
Representative Jeb Hensarling, chairman of U.S. House Financial Services Committee, suggested he may be willing to support the Senate bill as currently written if Democrats backed his bills, which have passed the House and would lower the regulatory barriers small companies must cross to raise money by selling shares to the public.
“I’m not naive,” Hensarling told reporters at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. “Ultimately the fate of these House bills rests in approximately eight self-styled moderate Senate Democrats.”
Hensarling had previously urged the Senate to add a range of provisions, which would also reduce the amount of information companies must disclose before going public, to the bill it passed in March. On Thursday he said he was “certainly open to other pathways” to achieve his ends.
The House must approve the Senate bill before President Donald Trump can sign it into law, a commitment he said in March he planned to honor. Lobbyists view Hensarling’s support as necessary for it to pass the House.
Many Democrats have said that Dodd-Frank provides critical protections for consumers and taxpayers and it was only recently that some have begun to support changes to it. The Senate bill passed by a vote of 67-32, including the support of 17 moderate Democrats.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner, a supporter of the Senate bill, said this week that the Senate would likely not pass the bill again if it were reintroduced in the chamber with changes.
Hensarling has said that lowering disclosure requirements would reduce the cost of going public.
He told reporters that he was open to ways of passing those measures into law other than through Dodd-Frank reform.
“I’m a lot more committed to substance than form,” Hensarling said. “It’s more efficient to do it in one bill, but if we have to do it in 14 bills then that’s 14 more signing pens I get to add to the collection.”
Editing by Michelle Price and Scott Malone