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U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling On Financial Regulation And What Critics Call 'Obamacare 2.0’

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling in 2013. He represents parts of Dallas and East Texas.

Congressional Republicans this week rolled out their alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Though some on the right have criticized it as “Obamacare2.0,” U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling says he’s on board with the proposed legislation – with a few tweaks.  

“It could be more market-oriented, but at the end of the day, at some point you’re given a binary choice: either Obamacare or some other bill,” he says. “As long as the other bill improves it, I’m going to vote for it.”  

Hensarling, who represents parts of Dallas and East Texas, will be a key figure in the GOP’s goal to remake health care. The Republican represents the powerful House Financial Services committee, which has also rolled out an alternative to the Dodd-Frank Act. Hensarling says the Financial Choice Act will do what Dodd-Frank failed to accomplish after the 2008 financial crisis.  

“It would end bank bailouts once and for all,” he says. “It would give regulatory relief for community financial institutions, and we would also have the strongest penalties for Wall Street wrongdoers that have ever been on the books.”

Though Republicans eagerly want to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act, Hensarling says that doesn’t mean they want a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. For example, he says his bill would require banks to hold on to more loss-absorbing capital than is currently required.

“We’re not trying to save any individual institution,” says Hensarling. “We’re trying to save the entire financial apparatus and our whole financial system.”

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.