Rep. Price: JPMorgan Case Shows Need to Hold Regulators’ Feet to Fire

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 11:20 AM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Georgia Rep. Tom Price, who chairs the House Republican Policy Committee, tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that the bungled $2 billion in trading losses by JPMorgan Chase signals a need to hold regulators’ “feet to the fire” but not for Congress to impose additional regulation on the banking industry.

Price’s remarks to Newsmax TV came on Tuesday as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said JPMorgan's losses strengthened the case for reform, while the company’s shareholders backed embattled Chief Executive Jamie Dimon at the bank's annual shareholders meeting by voting against a proposal to split the CEO and chairman roles.

“I don’t think we need more regulation, but what we need is effective implementation of the regulation that we currently have, and rolling back regulation that is not helpful at all to any of the financial transactions that are occurring out there for individual citizens,” declared Price, the fifth-ranking Republican in the House.


See our exclusive video interview here. Story continues below video.
 


“JPMorgan made a huge mistake. They’ve admitted that mistake. The question is, why didn’t the regulators recognize that it was potential, and that it was coming,” asked Price, who also serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.

JPMorgan, led by CEO Dimon, never reported a losing quarter throughout the financial crisis, even as it rescued Bear Stearns and took over the banking unit of Washington Mutual after that Seattle-based lender collapsed. Last year JPMorgan Chase surpassed Bank of America to become the largest U.S. lender by assets.

“The notion that we had the financial challenges that we had over the last three or four years because we didn’t have enough regulation is simply a folly. It’s fanciful. It is fiction,” Price insisted.

“What we need is an administration that recognizes that you need vibrancy and vitality in the market, and you don’t get that by oppressive regulation. You get that by effective and responsible regulation. And that’s what we’ve called for.”

Price also said in the wide-ranging interview that President Barack Obama has failed to respond to a letter that he and 22 other members of the House sent to the White House regarding news leaks that may have compromised American and Israeli defense planning.

“We haven’t heard back from the White House and that gives us concern as it should every single American,” he explained.

“In our conversations with the leadership in Israel, we learned that in this administration likely there have been significant leaks, not about just philosophy or political ideology, but about real strategic information, military information that has been leaked from the United States to the world about the situation that Israel has before it.”

The letter asks Obama to charge U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate where the leaks came from. “They are not only compromising the safety and security of the state of Israel, they are compromising any stability that has an opportunity in the Middle East, and I believe they are compromising the national security of the United States of America.”

Price, who recently returned from a trip to the Middle East, supports calls by some congressional Republicans for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to visit Israel over the summer to highlight the fact that Obama has not gone there since taking office

“To have a president go through an entire term of office and not visit the State of Israel I believe to be reckless from a national security and a public policy standpoint,” charged Price, who recently co-sponsored the U.S./Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which passed in the House.

“I think Gov. Romney would send a very strong message — a message of support, not just for one of our strongest allies — but a message of concern about the stability in the Middle East, and sending the message to our allies and foes that we will not be deterred in the understanding and appreciation that we have,” he said.

Moreover, Price is one of a number of congressional Republicans, who voted in favor of strengthening U.S. security by replacing looming military cuts with cuts to domestic programs. The measure passed the House but has little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“Now the Senate is going to have to act if they hear enough from the American people — and this is where the decisions from Washington won’t be the ones that will be paramount,” Price explained. “It will be decisions in homes and communities all across this country where the American people rise up and say, ‘Senate, you’ve got act now. You can’t punt this anymore. You can’t push this off as you have a budget you need to act to make certain that our nation is strong and secure.’”

Price worked in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon for nearly 20 years, and also served at the Emory University School of Medicine as an assistant professor and medical director of the Orthopedic Clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta before his election to Congress.

He believes that Congress should put in place patient-centered reforms regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules with respect to Obamacare in a decision that is expected next month.

“There are three scenarios that we’re looking at: One is that the Supreme Court could uphold the entire law, which I don’t think is going to happen,” acknowledges Price. The second more likely scenario is that the Supreme Court will rule part of the bill unconstitutional, and part of it constitutional. The best-case scenario would be that the high court strikes down the law in its entirety.

“If the Supreme Court, though, rules that part of the bill is unconstitutional and part of it constitutional, the chaos may occur more rapidly as opposed to less, which means that again we will act in the House and we call on the Senate and the president to follow suit,” he said.


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