Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) hailed the Senate passage today of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to end taxpayer bailouts and "too big to fail' financial institutions. It will also provide key protections for consumers and small businesses, while also providing safeguards to ensure the New York economy will not suffer as it is home of the financial industry.
The legislation passed the Senate 60-39, after passing the House 237-192 on June 30, and now awaits President Barack Obama's signature to become law.
"For eight years, President Bush and his Republican allies preached the gospel of deregulation while corporations and big banks gambled with our money -- compromising our savings, our jobs, and our future. Now, the GOP stands against reform rather than with working families and small business owners. It is almost as if they are ignoring the eight million jobs lost, and $17 trillion in retirement savings and American net worth lost during that time. If we are to prevent any future taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, this legislation is not only necessary, it is imperative," said Rep. Engel.
On the same day the Senate passed this landmark legislation, the House Republican leader said he believes the legislation should be repealed. Once again, the Republicans stand with executives and the Big Banks who brought our economy to the brink of collapse.
The legislation will do the following:
* Ensuring taxpayers are not on the hook for any risky decisions.
* Protect retirement funds, college savings, homes and businesses' financial futures from risky decisions by CEOs, lenders and speculators.
* Protect consumers from predatory lending abuses, misleading fine print and industry gimmicks.
* Inject transparency and accountability into the financial system too long left unregulated.
"I have long been a strong supporter of preventing companies from becoming too big to fail, and the authority given to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will prevent this from happening again. The dismantlement of failed corporations will be paid for by those firms, and not by taxpayers. The days of taxpayer-funded bailouts are over," added Rep. Engel.
Some more details regarding the legislation:
* Protections for small businesses -- Grocers, retailers and other small business owners who face out-of-control swipe fees that banks and other credit and debit card issuers charge are protected and will save billions.
* Consumer Financial Protection Agency -- Protects families and small businesses by ensuring that bank loans, mortgages and credit cards are fair, affordable, understandable and transparent.
* End Predatory Lending -- The subprime lending frenzy that helped send the economy on its downward spiral in 2008.
* Shut down "Too Big To Fail" -- No longer will risky and irresponsible behavior threaten to take down the whole economy.
* Ending bailouts -- Will unwind failing companies that pose the greatest risk, paid for by the companies.
"Poor decisions by the financial industry forced us into making hard decisions. Especially those of us who represent New York, with Wall Street a huge part of our city and state's economy, and we had to ensure both are protected. The compromise struck during the House-Senate Conference Committee enables New York members to support the legislation because it does not adversely affect New York jobs and economy. Jobs will not be sent overseas by banks and credit default swaps and other risky derivatives will be separated from banking institutions, while traditional non-risky activities will still be allowed," added Rep. Engel.
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. It 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.