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Public Statements

Financial Regulatory Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, later this morning, the President of the United States will sign a financial regulation bill that was sold to the American people as a way of reining in Wall Street. Anyone who believes that did not read beyond the cover sheet because if they did, they would discover instead a far-reaching government intrusion that was endorsed by Wall Street and opposed by Main Street. Citibank thinks it is great. Your local florist thinks it will undermine their business. When you cut through all the talking points about what financial regulation will do, the practical, real-world effect of this bill in the near term will be job loss. That is the real story.

For more than a year and a half, the President and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill have pushed an antibusiness, antijobs agenda on the American people in the form of one massive government intrusion after another. And then they celebrate. Well, Americans are not celebrating. Three million of them have lost their jobs since the Democrats launched their stimulus. The folks who lost those jobs certainly are not celebrating. Small business owners are already being hammered by the health care bill. They are not celebrating. And the people who thought this Wall Street bill was supposed to rein in Wall Street? Well, they are not celebrating either. They are upset, and rightly so.

As I stand here this morning, millions of Americans are struggling to find jobs. Yet all they see in Washington is Democrats passing massive bills that at their core seem to have one thing in common: more job loss. It is almost as if it is a prerequisite for any Democratic legislation--if it leads to more job loss, they will pass it. Americans are tired of this kind of ``reform.'' Job-stifling taxes, regulations, government intrusion--these appear to be the three pillars of every Democratic legislative effort. They are also the three things lawmakers can do that are guaranteed to kill more jobs.

That is why it should not be a surprise to anyone that unemployment has been scraping double digits since Democrats started ramming these so-called reform bills through Congress.

As a result of the health care bill, small businesses, student loan centers, tanning salons, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, and major American employers have all either laid off employees or are trying to figure out how not to. Just this week, we read a report that during the process of the auto bailout, this administration decided to shut down auto dealers, without cause, effectively costing thousands of Americans their jobs.

And now a financial regulatory bill that does nothing to reform the government-sponsored enterprises that many people believe to have been at the root of the financial crisis this bill grew out of, that was meant to rein in Wall Street but now is supported by some of Wall Street's biggest banks, and that is meant to help the economy but which is expected to stifle growth and kill more jobs.

The American people are connecting the dots. They do not think this bill will solve the problems in the financial sector any more than they think the health care bill will lead to lower costs or better care, any more than the stimulus lowered unemployment.

Then there are all the unintended consequences of these bills. Just yesterday, we learned that the financial regulatory bill--a bill that was supposed to put an end to the notion that some institutions are too big to fail--may now have created a new set of institutions that are too big to fail. It was reported yesterday that some of the economists and experts who have studied this bill are worried it could leave taxpayers on the hook in the event a new derivatives clearinghouse takes on too much risk.

So a bill that was originally meant to prevent a situation such as the one we faced in November of 2008 that was meant to prevent bailouts will add to the list of institutions that are counting on getting bailed out.

That is on top of all the new regulations businesses are going to have to deal with as a result of this bill.

All told, this bill would impose 533 new regulations on individuals and small businesses--regulations that will inevitably lead to the kind of confusion and uncertainty that will make it even harder for struggling businesses to dig themselves out of the recession.

It is just this kind of uncertainty that will continue to deter lending and freeze credit as lenders wait to see how they will be affected by the new regulations. And it is just this kind of uncertainty that businesses cite time and again as one of the greatest challenges to our economic recovery.

The White House will declare this bill a victory. But for millions of Americans struggling to find work, for millions of small business owners bracing themselves for all the new regulations they will have to deal with, or ordinary Americans who wanted to see an end to the bailouts, this bill is no victory. When out-of-work Americans see Democrats celebrating today, what they will see are lawmakers who have completely and totally lost touch and who have lost the trust of the American people.

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