Historic Wall Street Reform Ready For Final Passage

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Office: 202-546-9707, ext. 314
edm@pirg.org

Historic Wall Street Reform Ready For Final Passage

After 60-Vote Hurdle Passed, Final Senate Vote Is “Automatic” And Will Occur By Saturday at Latest, Then Bill Will Be Ready for President

WASHINGTON - Responding
to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Senate
this
morning passed a motion to proceed ("cloture vote," with 60 "Yes" votes
required) on the conference report on the Wall Street Reform and
Consumer
Protection Act, HR 4173, which has already passed the House. Depending
on how
many Senators want to debate the bill, the "virtually automatic" final
vote
will occur either later today or by Saturday at the latest. The bill
reins in
Wall Street and protects consumers, investors, and taxpayers from
further
financial meltdowns.

 

Statement of U.S. PIRG
Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski

"Today,
the Senate has again rejected the self-serving efforts of some two
thousand
Wall Street lobbyists who spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the
past
18 months to weaken reforms targeting the practices that sparked the
financial
mess they caused for consumers and taxpayers. Instead, the Wall Street
Reform
and Consumer Protection Act is one virtually automatic step from the
President's desk. The historic legislation establishes a landmark
Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau, gives small investors and homeowners new
protections, reins in risky bank derivatives practices, toughens
regulation of
financial firms and, when necessary, sets up procedures to shut them
down
instead of bailing them out.

"Without
a doubt, the centerpiece of reform is the establishment of the new,
independent
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with only one job: protecting
consumers
who buy financial products at banks and non-bank lenders, from mortgage
companies to payday lenders. While the Bureau will not regulate
predatory car
dealer practices, a last-minute compromise gives the Federal Trade
Commission
new authority over car dealers who initiate loans. The Consumer
Financial
Protection Bureau is certainly the biggest consumer protection bill
since
deposit insurance after the 1929 crash.

"But
the CFPB - passed despite the public efforts of all the banks and the
U.S.
Chamber of Commerce to kill it - is not the only grand achievement of
the
Congress. The bill's new regulation of the shadow markets for
derivatives, for
example, was strengthened in conference committee, and that is something
that
rarely happens.

"Last
minute changes to the conference report's budgetary mechanism appeased
several
Senators who had opposed an earlier conference report. We
thank Majority Leader Reid, Senator Dodd and the Senate leadership for
their
commitment to meaningful reform that puts consumers and taxpayers ahead
of the
self-interest of the banks.  We thank Senators Brown (MA), Snowe and
Collins for rising above Washington's partisan divide, standing with the
American people in making possible an open and more secure financial
future for
all Americans.

"Final passage of the Wall Street Reform and
Consumer Protection Act will
help consumers and the economy recover from the financial meltdown that
cost millions
of jobs and trillions of dollars in home and retirement fund value.

"We
look forward to working with the President and the Congress to implement
these
reforms and to continue to seek additional protections for consumers,
taxpayers
and investors."

###

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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