Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 4173, Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act Of 2009
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Mr. KLEIN of Florida. I thank the gentleman from Colorado and thank him for his work both on the Financial Services Committee and on this rule, and certainly I support the rule and the underlying bill, H.R. 4173, Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
And we think about the name, Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This is self-descriptive, exactly what Americans have been looking for for the past year. Our current economic crisis is the worst in decades, and it certainly didn't happen overnight. It happened over the last number of years because of a failure of regulation and oversight.
The one thing I'll agree with Mr. Dreier from California is that it's not a question of more or less regulation. It's smart regulation. It's the right type of regulation. It's the right type of people in those agencies that know what they're doing, that have the proper training, they're probably paid, and they're not outsmarted by some people who are trying to scam the system. That's what Americans have been asking for. That's what Americans are looking for Congress to do.
And finally, after a tremendous amount of work--and again, a lot of it has been through good work by Democrats and Republicans--I'm very sorry to see that this moment it's becoming a partisan issue. But the good news is this bill is good quality, is one of the most important things that has been done in our economy and our financial system in over 50 years, and it will be an answer to not only figure out what went wrong in the past and learn from those mistakes, but also anticipate what can go wrong in the future. There are a lot of very smart people out there that have learned how to scam the system, and we as Americans need to make sure that we are anticipating what those kinds of problems may be so we can avoid those problems from happening again.
Under the bill before us today, we've created a regulatory structure that will protect consumers and ensure that investors have the appropriate information to make knowledgeable investment decisions. There's no guarantee in investing, and every person has to take personal responsibility for themselves in making those decisions, but at the same time, you can't be fraudulently misled. You can't have a lack of information, a lack of context. And it's important to have an agency that will stand up for the consumers or abusive other financial institutions that are out there.
This legislation also restores responsibility and accountability through Wall Street. Regulatory loopholes and gaps in regulation have been closed to make sure that there is common sense, transparency, and adequate oversight. Financial institutions that were previously unregulated--and we've already heard the stories of who they are--will now be brought under government supervision. Derivatives and other complex financial products that we've never even heard of--credit default swaps and other things--will now be tightly regulated to eliminate unnecessary risk taking by financial institutions. And executive compensation at these institutions has also been modified to discourage risky speculation for short-term gains that have negative effects on our overall economy.
This bill also makes sure the American taxpayer, all of us, won't have to bail out Wall Street banks by putting in place resolution authority that will allow these firms to fail without damaging the financial system and the entire economy. No more ``too big to fail'' or we have to rescue them because, if they fall, the whole economy fails.
We cannot let it get to that point, and that's exactly what this bill does. It stops it before it gets to that point.
We've also learned that both quality and the quantity of staff at regulatory agencies, as I said before, are very important. We want to have qualified technical staff, and we want to know that if someone blows the whistle and calls something out that the staff at these agencies will respond quickly and efficiently to make sure that that doesn't continue.
It's also important to hold individuals who committed misdeeds to account. Many financial players committed abusive and fraudulent acts, from Wall Street to local mortgage brokers, and we have to hold these people accountable. Americans, all they ask for is a sense of fairness. They want to know if they play by the rules, that people who sell them products are also playing by those same rules.
And unfortunately, there haven't been enough prosecutions for those who committed some of these very bad acts that brought us to our knees. That's unacceptable. People that commit these types of criminal fraudulent acts must be punished.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. I yield the gentleman 1 additional minute.
Mr. KLEIN of Florida. Yet simply punishing these bad actors is not enough. We have to learn from the past and anticipate the future and make sure our financial structures are adapted accordingly. The reforms made by this legislation are essential to creating a functional, sustainable financial system that families and our businesses can count on.
We cannot and will not, as Americans, allow what happened last year to happen again. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Congress, to the passage of this bill, to the President signing it, and to Americans knowing that they will have confidence in their financial system. I thank the gentleman.
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