The lawmakers were at an impasse.
More than two hours into a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee last month, the members were bickering over two versions of a bill designed to ease a new regulation that affected banks, part of the sweeping 2010 overhaul of financial laws known as the Dodd-Frank Act.
The dispute? Whether to give the banks everything they asked for, or whether to give them even more.
Rep. Scott Garrett, a Republican from New Jersey, asked to postpone a final vote so he could contact “stakeholders,” code for the bankers who wanted the change. Then Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the committee’s ambitious chairman, attempted to retake the discussion with what passes for a joke in the wood-paneled hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
“Occasionally we have been accused of trying to undermine aspects of Dodd-Frank,” Hensarling said with a chuckle. “I hope we’re guilty of it.”