The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Bills Would Unravel Wall Street Reform

Public Citizen Opposes House and Senate Committee Bills Enabling Wall Street Excess


More than a dozen bills to be marked up in Congress this week would unravel Wall Street reform and endanger the economy, Public Citizen said today.

On May 20 and May 21, the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will vote on some of the most expansive banking legislation since Congress approved the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

"Unwisely, this collection of 13 damaging House bills along with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) overreaching and unwieldy deregulation bill would undermine key provisions that protect Main Street from Wall Street," said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division.

"The premise of these bills is that investors in smaller companies don't deserve the same ownership rights as those of larger, more established firms," said Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate with Public Citizen's Congress Watch division.

Another proposal would require the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to review all Dodd-Frank rules. "The practical result of this bill would be to add more delay into an already irresponsibly long process that protects Main Street America from economic damage caused by recklessness on Wall Street," said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "New rules for Wall Street have no place in a review process that is supposed to target old rules."

This same proposal will come before the Senate Banking Committee on May 21 as part of an 83-section bill sponsored by committee chair Shelby.

"This sweeping move proposes to roll back supervision of 29 of the 33 largest banks in the nation," Naylor said. "Banks already are highly leveraged, meaning that the gap between assets and liabilities is dangerously small. The Dodd-Frank law provides for closer supervision of banks with more than $50 billion. Reducing standards for banks with as much as $500 billion invites failures that would inevitably be paid for by taxpayers."

The Shelby bill also would insulate mortgage lenders from litigation even if they make irresponsible loans. "The financial crash grew from liar loans and other mortgage schemes," said Naylor. "Rolling back liability moves in the wrong direction."

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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