WASHINGTON -- Former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is now running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan, called for the repeal of Wall Street reform legislation on Monday, arguing that "the heavy hand of the federal government" is making it impossible for bankers to do their jobs.
"This is one area where you've got to hold the federal government back," said Hoekstra at a campaign event. "Either repeal or significant reform of that legislation [Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act] to allow the banking and the financial system to function -- let it function one more time."
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) endorsed Hoekstra at Monday's event, saying, "He brings a complete fleet of experience from both the government sector and the private sector. That's the combination we need in today's world."
Hoekstra served as a Michigan congressman from 1993 to 2011. He ran for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010, but lost to Snyder.
As he mentioned at the event, Hoekstra currently serves on the board of directors at the West Michigan Community Bank.
"I'm serving on the board for a small bank," said Hoekstra. "What I'm seeing there now is once again, the heavy hand of the federal government making it difficult, if not impossible, for the banking community to do the banking business, which is to invest in their communities, to get a return on that investment -- but again, to bring prosperity and jobs into their community."
On Monday afternoon, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer sharply criticized Hoekstra's comments.
"This just demonstrates yet again whose side Pete Hoekstra is on," said Brewer in a call with reporters. "He voted against Wall Street reform originally. And rolling back the consumer protections and the oversight of Wall Street contained in that reform package will demonstrate on whose side Hoekstra is. He isn't on the side of Main Street or the middle class. We need to hold banks and Wall Street accountable for the mess they created when we almost had the second Great Depression because of their financial recklessness."
Hoekstra's campaign did not return a request for comment.
Repealing the Dodd-Frank legislation has become a popular position for GOP candidates.
"The extent of regulation in the banking industry has become extraordinarily burdensome following Dodd-Frank," said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, at a recent campaign event. "I'd like to repeal Dodd-Frank, recognizing that some revisions make sense."
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), another presidential contender, meanwhile, has been calling for repeal for quite some time.
President Obama has said he will fight any Republican attempts to repeal the legislation, which, among other things, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "We are going to stand up this bureau and make sure it is doing the right thing for middle-class families," he said in July.
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