Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) voted today to help restore common sense to Wall Street with the largest reform of our nation's financial regulations since the 1930s. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will end taxpayer-funded bailouts and "too big to fail' financial institutions, protect consumers from predatory lending, safeguard our retirement and college savings from unnecessary risks, and inject transparency and new accountability into a financial system run amok.
"President Bush and Republicans in Congress looked the other way as Wall Street, big banks, and insurance companies exploited loopholes and gambled with our money -- compromising our savings, our future, and the American Dream," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "This failure to regulate the financial industry combined with risky and irresponsible behavior on Wall Street led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. This legislation ends this by holding Wall Street and the big banks accountable. We are ending taxpayer bailouts once and for all."
The legislation will create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to protect families and small businesses by ensuring bank loans, mortgages, and credit cards are fair, affordable, and understandable. For the first time, the new agency streamlines into one place the role of protecting ordinary Americans' financial security.
"Consumers should have the peace-of-mind of knowing that they are not going to be tricked by their banks and credit card companies," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "We don't let companies sell faulty toasters that can burn down our homes, and we shouldn't let the financial industry give mortgages to people who they know can't afford the loan."
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ends "too big to fail" financial firms before risky and irresponsible behavior threatens to bring down the entire economy. It also strengthens government oversight over large banks and financial firms -- including new regulation of credit rating agencies and riskier hedge funds, derivatives, and other complex financial deals.
This bill includes tougher enforcement and oversight of existing protections. It gives the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) new enforcement powers. It enhances oversight and transparency of the credit rating agencies whose seal of approval gave way too many of the excessively risky practices that led to a financial collapse. It addresses egregious executive compensation, allowing shareholders to have a say on employee compensation,' requiring independent directors on compensation committees, and limiting the risky pay practices of bank executives that jeopardized banks' soundness.
"Wall Street reform is the next critical step to create jobs and grow our economy," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "As we rebuild our economy, we must put in place common-sense rules that protect Main Street from big banks and Wall Street. We can't jeopardize our recovery by allowing risky Wall Street financing schemes to hurt hard-working families and small businesses. Wall Street may be bouncing back, but we know from experience they're not going to police themselves."