For Immediate Release
Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Office: 202-546-9707, ext. 314
House Approves Wall Street Reform Package
– Senate Vote Is Only Remaining Obstacle to New Law –
WASHINGTON - Responding to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the House yesterday approved the conference report on the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, HR 4173. The bill reins in Wall Street and protects consumers, investors, and taxpayers from further financial meltdowns. The legislation is expected to be considered in the Senate either late Thursday or, more likely, immediately following the July Fourth recess, due to memorial services this week for the late Senator Robert C. Byrd.
Statement of U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski
"Yesterday, the House 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 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.
"Last minute changes to the conference report's budgetary mechanism should appease Senators who opposed the previous conference report as passed early Friday morning. Nevertheless, we will maintain grassroots pressure on all Senators through the July Fourth recess so we can get this critical reform to the President's desk. 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."
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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.