Eric Cantor: Warren, Dems 'dogmatic' on Dodd-Frank

Eric Cantor
Photographer | CNBC
Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor may have left Washington for Wall Street, but he's still angry about laws passed after the financial crisis.

"We need the system to work for everybody. I think a much more rational approach is needed," the Republican former House majority leader said about the Dodd-Frank Act, an expansive set of rules designed to prevent another economic meltdown like in 2008.

Cantor, speaking at the Wall Street Journal Private Equity Analyst Conference in New York, said Democrats were irrationally defending the reforms despite their unintended consequences.

"[It's] this dogmatic 'anything that's big, that's bad, anything that's Wall Street regulating we need to support' versus some rational sense of what we're really doing," he said Tuesday. Cantor voted against Dodd-Frank in December 2009 and then tried to cut off financing for it, telling CNBC at the time that it would "kill jobs."

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Cantor, who lost his Virginia House seat last year and became vice chairman of investment bank ​Moelis, called for changes to the Volcker Rule, which limits banks placing market bets with internal capital, and less regulatory burdens on community banks.

He said such measures could pass Congress were it not for the "politicization" of Dodd-Frank and Democrats like Elizabeth Warren "taking very strident stances against any changes."

"Most members of Congress would say that the one size fits all; [the] dogmatic sort of operation of that law is just having unintended consequences," Cantor said.

Changes are necessary, he said, "if we mean for there to be competition in the lending arena. If we mean for there to be robust access to capital … that we want an environment for risk taking, for entrepreneurs and small businesses to grow."

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Cantor also discussed tax reform, an issue of concern for the private equity fund managers in the room.

"This Congress, it's very difficult to see comprehensive tax reform making it through," Cantor said when asked if carried interest tax treatment would change anytime soon. (CNBC Explains: Carried Interest)

"There's just way too many impediments to the system, disagreements between the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress on how do you affect overall tax reform to see the progress this year or this term," he said.

Cantor reiterated his support for tax rules that benefit investment managers: "If you have capital at risk, you should be able to enjoy some type of incentive if we want to see the economy grow," he said.

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