U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted against H.R. 4173, the Democrat Majority's Financial Reform legislation approved by the House-Senate conference committee earlier this week. The final House vote was 237-192.
"The economic collapse affected every American in some way, regardless of gender, geography, income, or political affiliation. Two years later, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) - a 9/11-type commission - has not reported back on the root causes; we still do not have answers to countless critical questions; and criminal charges for those responsible have not been brought forward. In this regard, the federal government has failed the American people.
"In the aftermath of the collapse, a strong bipartisan desire to reform the financial sector took hold, and initial efforts were cooperative. There was a real consensus to strengthening oversight of Wall Street, auditing the activities of the Federal Reserve and significantly reducing the risk of so-called "too big to fail' companies that required substantial taxpayer intervention to survive. Unfortunately, some common-sense efforts, such as auditing the Federal Reserve's activities, were watered down and partisan priorities were pushed to the forefront.
"While containing some provisions I feel are critical protections for taxpayers and consumers, the financial reform legislation presented to the House fails to reduce systemic risk. It is unacceptable to intentionally ignore the reforms needed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose central role in the housing bubble started the dominos falling: mass foreclosures led to toxic assets which perpetrated failed companies and job losses across all sectors of the economy. None of these are addressed today.
"I'm disappointed with the direction the Democrat leadership drove this legislation. It will encourage Wall Street to find new, creative ways to skirt reasonable business practices, placing greater restrictions on a credit market already frozen while passing along the costs of doing business to consumers. And, despite my repeated objections, taxpayers will still be on the hook for future bailouts.
"Thus, I did not support this legislation, despite the need to reform the practices of Wall Street to protect those on Main Street and in our communities."