The effort of U.S. President Barack Obama to make Wall Street accountable and prevent the collapse of financial institutions in the future inched a step closer as the House of Representatives passed the sweeping Wall Street Reform Bill.
The sweeping Wall Street Reform Bill that was passed by the House of Representatives by vote 237-192, largely along party lines now goes to the Senate, where it faces the prospect of filibuster by the Republicans.
But the Democrats exuded confidence that they would be able to get the Bill through the Senate as well.
Mr. Obama said the House vote “puts us on the cusp of passing a law” that will give consumers greater protection and safeguard U.S. economy against future financial crises.
“It has been a long fight against the defenders of the status quo on Wall Street, but today’s vote is a victory for every American who has been affected by the recklessness and irresponsibility that led to the loss of millions of jobs and trillions in wealth,” Mr. Obama said in a statement thereafter.
“It will put in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history, curbing abuses by banks, mortgage and credit card companies and giving their customers information they need to make responsible financial decisions,” he said.
The Wall Street Reform Bill will make U.S.’ financial system more transparent, so that complex transactions that escaped scrutiny in the past would now be done in the light of day. And it will put an end to the idea that any financial firm is too big to fail, and therefore entitled to taxpayer bailouts, he asserted.
Noting that the law also will put in place the Volcker rule so that banks don’t put the savings of millions of Americans at risk, Mr. Obama said U.S.’ economic future depends on a thriving financial sector to provide the capital families require to meet their needs and businesses must have to grow and hire.
“But, as we have seen, it also must operate within a sensible framework of rules and regulations, adequate to hold financial institutions accountable,” he said.
Earlier speaking on the floor of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this comprehensive and far-reaching legislation injects transparency and accountability as it lowers leverage into the financial system run amuck under the Republicans’ reckless economic policies.
“This legislation makes common sense reforms that end the era of taxpayer bailouts and ‘too-big-to-fail’ financial firms. It establishes a new, independent agency solely dedicated to protecting Americans from anti-consumer abuses,” she said.
“The Bill closes the door on predatory lending and regulates payday lenders. It includes provisions to allow us to conduct oversight over the Fed, establishes tough rules for risky financial practices, enhances oversight for credit rating agencies and reigns in egregious CEO bonuses by giving shareholders a say in executive pay,” Ms. Pelosi observed.
The House Majority Speaker, Steny Hoyer said this Bill will bring accountability to Wall Street and Washington, protect and empower consumers, forestall future financial meltdowns, and prevent taxpayer money from being put on the line again to bail out Wall Street excess.
“First, this Bill protects Americans from some of the financial industry’s most abusive practices, including predatory credit card and mortgage lending that saddles consumers with loans they have no chance of paying back.
“Americans have an obligation of responsibility in borrowing; but financial companies also have a responsibility to make loans fair and transparent,” he said.
“By creating a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we can make sure that both sides live up to the bargain. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will strengthen and modernise oversight of Wall Street by putting the functions of seven different agencies in one accountable place,” Mr. Hoyer said.
Opposing the Bill, the House Republican Conference Chairman, Mike Pence, alleged that under the guise of financial reform, Democrats are pushing yet another Bill that will kill jobs, raise taxes and make bailouts permanent.
“This legislation will kill jobs by restricting access to credit. It will kill jobs by raising taxes on those that would provide loans and opportunities to small business owners and family farmers. And it makes the bad ideas of the Wall Street bailout permanent,” he said.
“I vigorously opposed the Wall Street bailout because I thought it departed from that fundamental principle of personal responsibility and limited government. And I rise today to vigorously oppose this legislation that takes the bad ideas of the Wall Street bailout and makes them permanent,” Mr. Pence said.
“This legislation codifies the notion of too big to fail; a policy and an approach that the American people have roundly rejected. It will give government bureaucrats more power to pick winners and losers.
“When a financial firm is failing, Treasury Secretary and the FDIC will actually have the authority to take taxpayer dollars and decide which creditors to pay back, and how and when they get paid,” Mr. Pence said.