“Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has defended financial reform recently, but on closer inspection, his defenses are oddly ambiguous.
Earlier this month, shortly before the House Financial Services committee voted on several bills to gut the derivatives’ reforms in the Dodd-Frank law, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter opposing the measures to the committee’s chairman, Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas.
There was zero chance that the letter would change any Republican minds. It didn’t even change many Democratic minds, as the bills passed the committee with bipartisan support. As such, the letter was widely understood as a way for the Obama administration to communicate its displeasure with congressional Democrats who might be inclined to support the bills when they are considered by the full House or in the Senate.
Also this month, in an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, Mr. Lew told the panel that he had pushed back against a group of international financial officials who had been unusually vocal in calling for American regulators to water down proposals to regulate derivatives. The foreign officials, including Michel Barnier, a prominent Commissioner of the European Union, have been incensed by proposals to impose new American derivatives rules on the foreign affiliates of American banks and on foreign banks operating in the United States.”
Read full New York Times editorial here