Wall Street is preparing for a Republican surge in Congress that could help it block proposed taxes on banks and investments, blunt new financial regulations and regain some of the lobbying firepower it lost during the financial crisis.
What bankers won’t be looking for, lobbyists said, is a repeal — or any major changes — to the Dodd-Frank bill, the most sweeping rewrite of financial regulation since the 1930s. While the law is widely criticized by the industry, Republican gains in the November election won’t be large enough to override a veto by President Barack Obama.
Financial firms, which for most of this year have been shifting political contributions to Republicans, say they’ll push Congress to restrain federal agencies that are filling in the details of the law, writing rules in areas including capital standards and a ban on proprietary trading. Banks would prefer to have Republicans overseeing the regulators, lobbyists said.
A Republican takeover would mean the banking industry “will have an active voice on the Hill, trying to influence the direction of regulatory agencies,” said Travis Plunkett, legislative director at the Consumer Federation of America, noting that only three House Republicans voted for Dodd-Frank. “The oversight process, grilling agency officials, that’s a big deal that shouldn’t be underestimated.”