March 30, 2017 / 3:47 PM / 4 months ago

Republican senator 'frustrated' by White House inaction on MetLife case

3 Min Read

March 30 (Reuters) - A Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday that he was "frustrated" that the Trump administration had not yet dropped the government's case against Metlife Inc, an insurer challenging its "too big to fail" designation.

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said slow action by the administration could entrench regulations pursued by former U.S. president Barack Obama. In particular, Toomey said he was surprised that the White House had not yet dropped the government's appeal in the MetLife case.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is now headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is fighting MetLife over the Obama administration's decision that the company, as a critical part of the financial system, requires stricter oversight.

MetLife challenged its designation and last year won an initial ruling that the government panel erred in giving it that label. But the Obama administration appealed that ruling, and the new team Trump put in place has not yet moved to scrap that appeal, which is still pending.

"I remain disappointed and a little frustrated that we haven’t dropped that appeal, because as we know, that decision by the D.C. Circuit Court could be out at any time," he said at the Capital Markets Summit hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Toomey and other Republican members of the Senate committee sent a letter on Tuesday to Mnuchin, urging the Financial Stability Oversight Council to review its designation policies.

The Treasury Department did not have an immediate response to Toomey's criticism.

Toomey also said Republicans would probably have to pursue significant changes to Dodd-Frank through a controversial budget reconciliation process because there would not be enough support from Democrats to allow a revamp of the Wall Street reform law, which was enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, to pass the Senate under normal rules.

Specifically, Toomey said he wanted to use that approach to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, replacing the director with a bipartisan commission and placing its budget under the control of congressional appropriators. (Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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