Committee Chairman Hensarling opened the hearing with a statement that concluded the Dodd/Frank Act did not ban Too-Big-To-Fail federal bailouts but actually codified them. His views are based on his belief that the designation of financial institutions as Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs) qualifies the institutions for the use of taxpayer monies in the event they become insolvent.
Cong. Waters, the Ranking Democratic Member, disagreed with the Chairman and urged interested parties to read the new law. She cited numerous references to provisions of the new law that expressly prohibited the use of taxpayer assistance.
An expert panel of experience federal banking witnesses were divided on the issue. Dallas Federal Reserve President Fisher and Richmond Federal Reserve President Lacker agreed that Too-Big-To-Fail financial help is still possible. FDIC Vice-Chair Hoenig and Former FDIC Chairman Bair both believe appropriate tools to avoid bailouts are contained the Dodd/Frank law.