WASHINGTON Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called for dismantling the Dodd-Frank Act Thursday night during the first Republican primary debate.
The reform law was "eviscerating small businesses and small banks," Rubio said in response to a question about helping entrepreneurs succeed.
"We need to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank. We need to make America fair again for all businesses, but especially those being run by small-business owners," he said, asserting that "over 40% of small and midsize banks that loan money to small businesses have been wiped out since Dodd-Frank has passed."
Financial reform was not otherwise a central feature of the presidential debate among the top ten Republican candidates.
Calls to repeal Dodd-Frank entirely have diminished in recent years as the 2010 law has been implemented, though GOP critics continue to push for major changes in Congress. Former Republican candidate Mitt Romney popularized the "repeal and replace" phrase in talking about Dodd-Frank during the 2012 elections.
Dodd-Frank came up just briefly earlier in the evening, when seven additional presidential hopefuls who didn't qualify for the main event debated a host of policy issues. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., indicated that he would like to reform Dodd-Frank, distancing himself from the leading Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton.
"To all the Americans who want a better life, don't vote for Hillary Clinton," said Graham. "She's not going to repeal Obamacare and replace it. I will. She's not going to build the Keystone pipeline. I will. She's not going to change Dodd-Frank. I will."
Meanwhile, Carly Fiorina, a former chief executive of Hewlett Packard, urged Congress to pass an information-sharing bill that would make it easier for banks and other companies to share cyber-threat information with the government. The Senate delayed a vote on the bill this week until after Congress returns from the summer recess. Lawmakers have debated similar provisions for several years now.
"There is more collaboration required between private-sector companies and the public sector," Fiorina said, noting that the provision "has been sitting - languishing, sadly - on Capitol Hill."