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Maffei Votes to Rein in Wall Street, Protect Consumers

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This week, Representateive Maffei voted to rein in Wall Street, end taxpayer bailouts of big banks, and create a consumer financial protection bureau that finally puts consumers first. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which passed the House by a vote of 237-192, will end the era of abuses by "too big to fail" banks that have cost the American people millions of jobs and trillions in retirement savings and net worth.

Rep. Maffei said: "Wall Street's recklessness and greed hurt working families across New York. People who worked hard and played by the rules saw their life savings disappear because of gambles that the financial institutions took. There was no oversight of increasingly complicated and opaque schemes that ended up nearly breaking our economy. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I worked to restore common sense, empower consumers, and protect smaller community banks that didn't cause this crisis."

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will help prevent the risky financial practices that led to the financial meltdown and stop large financial firms from gambling with Americans' retirement and college savings and home values. In addition, taxpayers will no longer pay the price for Wall Street's irresponsibility. The bill creates a process to shut down large, failing firms whose collapse would put the entire economy at risk. After exhausting all of the company's assets, additional costs would be covered by a "dissolution fund," to which all large financial firms would contribute.

The bill will create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new consumer watchdog devoted to protecting Americans from unfair and abusive financial practices. This independent bureau will provide clear and accurate information to families and small businesses to ensure that bank loans, mortgages, and credit cards are fair and affordable. Just like the FDA does for medical safety, the CFPB will set safety standards to prevent practices such as hidden credit card fees, deceptive "fine print," and other financial abuses that have escaped oversight so far.

"I'm on the side of working families," said Rep. Maffei. "I want to make sure that New York remains the financial capitol of the world while ensuring consumer protections from risky practices of big banks. Consumers deserve full information before making financial decisions, and this bill introduces a new level of transparency and accountability into our financial system. Never again can companies get "too big to fail,' and if a financial institution does fail, we now have the tools to wind it down without harm to the entire economy -- and without a taxpayer bailout. Taxpayers will never again be on the hook for the bad bets of big banks."

The bill has been called the "strongest set of Wall Street reforms in three generations" by Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the nonpartisan Congressional Oversight Panel, and has been endorsed by the AARP, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Council of Institutional Investors, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Restaurant Association, Public Citizen, SEIU, and US PIRG, among other organizations. The bill was publicly debated for more than 50 hours, and includes over 70 Republican and bipartisan amendments.

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