Voting on a Republican legislative package to replace President Barack Obama's banking reforms will stretch into a third day on Thursday as progress has been slowed by Democratic stall tactics and endless debating.
The bill, the Financial CHOICE Act, would cut back many of the provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and is hotly opposed by Democrats. At the heart of the legislation is the option for banks to get out from under many of the post-crisis rules if they maintain higher capital.
Jeb Hensarling, the bill's author and the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, announced late Wednesday afternoon, around 20 hours into the legislative markup, that voting on amendments would continue Thursday morning.
At that point, members of the committee had only voted on a handful of Democratic amendments, but engaged in a wide range of debates, extending from the merits of the legislation to the causes of the financial crisis, the role that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in the meltdown, President Trump's tax returns, and much more.
Democrats set the tone for the legislative markup early by describing the bill as a "middle finger" to the public and forcing a reading of the entire bill, nearly 600 pages, eating up several hours before an agreement was reached to proceed.
Once the panel began debating amendments, however, they didn't stop until midnight. But because each amendment kicked off a major debate, they only covered five amendments.
One major Democratic amendment was to take out the section of the bill that would place the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's funding under Congress' discretion, a measure favored by Republicans who say it would increase the agency's accountability.
Democrats argued at length that instead, it would hamper the agency's oversight of banks. Massachusetts' Michael Capuano, a noted liberal on the panel, said that he agreed with the principle that Congress should fund the agency, but argued that he didn't trust the intentions of the GOP Congress working with President Trump.
Trump, he warned, is "going to appoint Genghis Khan" to run the agency.
Later, the representatives debated the extent to which Fannie and Freddie were responsible for the financial crisis for about 90 minutes.
On Wednesday, Democrats offered amendments geared toward illuminating possible conflicts of interest that the law would create for Trump or forcing him to disclose his tax returns, which Hensarling decried as "political theater."
At times, the debate ranged far afield from the legislation at hand.
Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, invoked the authoritarian behavior of the Philippines' president Rodrigo Duterte to argue for greater oversight of the president. "He murdered people and boasted about it," Ellison said of Duterte. "Interesting behavior."
Later, Republican Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania criticized Democrats for offering amendments that would sink the legislation. "To quote President Trump on a tweet: 'Hashtag: Sad,"' Rothfus said. "Hashtag: Very sad."
By Wednesday afternoon, the two parties were debating an amendment to strip out the proposed Republican changes to the Federal Reserve, including a provision that would require the Fed to explain its monetary policy decisions with reference to a rule.
Democrats argued that the GOP was infringing on the Fed's independence. Trey Hollingsworth, a freshman Indiana representative, responded that the founders of the Bank of England in 1694, one of the earliest central banks, would be "aghast" to the extent of the Fed's powers today.
Most of the amendments offered through Wednesday were partisan ones that did not threaten to split either party. Instead, Democrats sought to portray Republicans as selling out consumers on behalf of Wall Street.
As has happened numerous times in recent years, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a high-profile critic of the banking industry encouraged the panel's Democrats with social media posts.