The U.S. Congress took a step towards the biggest rollback of banking regulation since the financial crisis as lawmakers began debating legislation that critics say is a gift to Wall Street and supporters sell as relief for small banks.

Nearly a decade since the nadir of the mortgage meltdown, Republicans joined forces with a group of moderate Democrats to vote on Tuesday to begin considering a bill that would water down parts of the Dodd-Frank post-crisis reforms.

The Senate began debate on the bill after a 67-32 vote that confirmed it has at least 17 Democratic or independent supporters, more than enough to reach the 60 votes needed to pass the chamber. Its prospects in the House of Representatives are more uncertain.

The bill would help mid-sized institutions by lifting the threshold at which banks face closer Federal Reserve oversight to $250bn in assets from the current $50bn.

Read more in the Milwaukee Business Journal.