CHOICE Act 2.0 Sent to House on Party-Line Vote as Markup Delivers the Anticipated Contentious Debate

May 05, 2017

Republicans and Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee marked up the Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 this week, which includes repeal of the Dodd-Frank pay ratio provision as well as greater SEC oversight of proxy advisory firms, on a contested 34-26 party-line vote.  As anticipated, the markup quickly become a raucous partisan political debate with Democrats offering a series of amendments aimed at forcing GOP votes and drawing out the length of the debate.  Democrats on the Committee had offered a series of targeted and thematic amendments with the goal of extending the markup into the upcoming Congressional recess.  Several of the amendments offered by Democrats targeted the CHOICE Act’s treatment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—a major priority for them—which would be fundamentally altered by the bill.  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) offered an amendment to remove a provision updating the thresholds to offer and resubmit shareholder proposals.  However, other amendments sidetracked the discussion significantly.  Chief among those amendments was one offered by Committee Democrats which would require the Congressional Ethics Office to review the CHOICE Act to see if it inappropriately benefits President Trump and any of his close constituents, which effectively turned the hearing into a highly partisan and oft times hostile debate for several hours.  The bill could be considered on the House floor as early as this month and is expected to pass.  The Senate Banking Committee is working on its own set of reforms that is expected to be much narrower.