In remarks to the general session of ABA’s Government Relations Summit today, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said that “the days of the Senate Banking Committee and its dysfunction and its less-than-busy work ethic, I hope, are behind us,” expressing his optimism for bipartisan cooperation as Congress pursues pro-growth policies.
After two years of little action on advancing nominations or banking legislation, Brown said that the committee, now under the leadership of Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has already held a markup of several bipartisan bills and a bipartisan hearing on Russian sanctions.
Brown stressed the importance of this bipartisan cooperation as Congress works to pass laws to continue driving economic growth, noting that the U.S. economy has seen 81 consecutive months of steady economic improvement and job creation. He added that the banking industry is also continuing to grow, with profits exceeding $171 billion in 2016 — a 5 percent increase from 2015 and an increase of 18 percent from a pre-crisis high.
“To sustain this growth, we need sound rules, we need better enforcement, and we need a strong independent central bank — one that we don’t use as a piggy bank to fund transportation projects and other congressional ideas,” he said, acknowledging the controversial 2015 bill that saw the Fed dividend slashed for banks over $10 billion to pay for highways. ABA and Seattle-based Washington Federal are currently challenging that legislation in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.