Financial Reform Watch

Published — November 3, 2010 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

New chief of House financial services takes aim at derivatives


Spencer Bachus, the Alabama Republican expected to become the next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, says he wants to tinker with the derivatives regulation required by the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.

“There are lot of job-killing provisions in that [Dodd-Frank] bill and there is a lot of just new bureaucracies created,” Bachus said in an interview today on CNBC. “Putting all derivatives on exchanges is just one example of something that is going to dry up liquidity, that is going to impact the economy, and is going to cost jobs.”

The financial regulation bill signed into law in July requires the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with some help from the Securities and Exchange Commission, to issue regulations policing the $615 trillion derivatives market and requiring standardized derivatives to be processed by central clearinghouses rather than individual traders. Derivatives are sophisticated financial instruments linked to an underlying asset such as a commodity, bond, stock, or currency.

Bachus was among the senior Republicans who took to the TV airwaves to discuss their plans for the U.S. House, which swung to GOP control in yesterday’s election. The new Congress is sworn in and begins work in January.

Bachus, a critic of the power Dodd-Frank gave to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to liquidate large non-bank financial services companies, acknowledged that any revisions to the law must win approval from the Democratic-led Senate. “We will take incremental steps, knowing that we’ve got to have bipartisan agreement in the Senate. There are a lot of things we can accomplish in a short time if we have some bipartisanship cooperation from moderate Democrats,” he said.

Reelected to his seventh term in the House, Bachus said he wants to diminish the role of the federal government in business.

“We’re the strongest economy in the world, but we got there by private ownership, by free markets, not by the government running the show and having a command and control economy. We got there, really, by having a lame government that stayed out of making decisions and we need to get back to that model that made us a great company,” said Bachus,now the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee.

Bachus replaces Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts as head of the financial committee. Frank won reelection by defeating Sean Bielat, a little-known Marine Corps reservist who mounted the toughest challenge that Frank has faced in years.

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