Dems applaud Wall Street reform’s passage

The East Bay’s House Democrats are proclaiming victory with today’s final House passage of the Wall Street reform legislation on a 237-192 vote; only three Republicans voted for the bill.

From House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez:

“Today’s vote to hold Wall Street accountable is a triple win — for families, small businesses, and consumers in our community. Every family in my congressional district has suffered from this devastating economic recession, the worst to hit our country since the Great Depression. And it was caused through a combination of greed on Wall Street and a culture among Washington Republicans under President Bush who turned away from any accountability for financial firms.

“The effects have been severe — sustained double-digit unemployment, too many Bay Area homes going into foreclosure each month, small businesses in shopping centers around the Bay Area fighting to stay alive but starved for credit. We cannot, and I will not, leave this system of greed and unaccountability unchanged.

“In addition to other steps we have taken to rescue the economy and create jobs, this bill protects consumers through common sense rules to stop predatory lending and bar mortgage offers to people who can’t afford them. It prevents lenders from getting bonuses for steering borrowers into higher cost loans, and enhances penalties for lenders making irresponsible loans,” Miller said.

“This bill, while it is only a first step at holding Wall Street accountable, is still the greatest single improvement to financial accountability in America in generations. One bill alone cannot avert a crisis, we all know that. But this bill will make a huge difference in our ability to try to prevent future crises and to better respond to them if they occur, and it will better protect consumers day by day from unscrupulous practices” Miller added. “For too long, reckless deregulation and Wall Street greed were the hallmarks of our financial system and left us in financial chaos. This bill ends that dangerous setup and provides one more step in our ongoing effort to get the American economy back on its feet.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“It is insensible that hard working families in my home state of California and across this country continue to fall victim to the recklessness and greed of Wall Street, the same Wall Street that relied on tax-payer dollars to keep raking in the profits and shelling out billions in bonuses.”
“It is time that we start reinvesting our resources in the people of this country to provide pathways out of poverty and get people back to work. It is time we stood up on behalf of the consumer. This legislation will protect consumers from fraud and provide Californians with financial security. It is definitely a step in the right direction.”

But, from House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio:

John Boehner“Americans have suffered through a serious financial meltdown that destroyed millions of jobs and wiped out the savings of millions of American families. A devastating meltdown slowed our economy and raised new doubts about whether it’s even possible any longer to pursue the American Dream. Unfortunately, this bill will do nothing to prevent it from happening to the American people again. This legislation will actually kill more jobs, widen the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and force taxpayers to fund permanent bailouts for President Obama’s Wall Street allies.

“The fact of the matter is, the financial meltdown was triggered by government mortgage companies giving too many high-risk loans to people who couldn’t afford them. And it was the policies of the leadership of this Congress that allowed it to happen. This legislation will do nothing – nothing – to fix those mistakes. Permanent bailouts for President Obama’s Wall Street allies and more job-killing mandates for Main Street is not reform – it’s just more of the same broken status quo. Republicans have a better solution that ends the bailouts, ends ‘too big to fail,’ and reforms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

More after the jump…

From Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove:

“The financial crisis that cost our country eight million jobs and more than a million homes began in 2007 due to lax regulation, tangled regulatory agencies, and pure greed at many of our largest financial institutions. This Wall Street reform package passed today will help fix all these problems. With tough consumer protections, critical homeowner assistance, and significant improvements in financial regulation, we are putting America on a more stable and secure economic footing.

“Congressional Republicans’ near unanimous opposition to this necessary reform is continuing proof that they are the voice of our most reckless industries. Whether they’re speaking for the big banks, Big Oil, or the insurance industry, one thing is clear: they’re not speaking for you.”

From the floor remarks of Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont:

Pete Stark“Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This bill will protect consumers from ever again being forced to bailout private financial institutions and brings overdue oversight to our financial markets.

“We learned the hard way that when private financial institutions grow too large, their failure will put our entire financial system and economy in peril. Mammoth companies like AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America took excessive risks and invested in risky financial products. When the economy turned, it was taxpayers that bailed them out.

“This bill imposes new requirements to discourage companies from becoming too large and unstable. Financial institutions will be prohibited from taking on excessive debt. The new Volcker Rule will limit the amount of money a bank can invest in hedge funds and otherwise use to gamble for its own benefit. Risky derivatives contracts owned by the banks will be subject to regulatory oversight and approval by government agencies. The bill also arms regulators to dismantle failing financial companies at the expense of the financial industry, not taxpayers.

“This bill does more than just rein in the financial institutions, it will also protect families. I strongly support the provision that will create a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This independent bureau with the Federal Reserve will be on the front lines protecting taxpayers from predatory lenders and other unfair practices by mortgage brokers, banks, student lenders, and credit card companies.

“The bill goes a long way to prevent another foreclosure crisis by reforming the mortgage industry. The bill prohibits pre-payment penalties that trap borrowers into unaffordable loans. It outlaws financial incentives that encourage lenders to steer borrowers into complicated high-interest loans. There will be penalties for lenders and mortgage brokers who do not comply with these new standards. If a bad credit score negatively impacts someone in a hiring decision or a financial transaction, the consumer will have free access to their score.

“This bill could be better. Breaking up the big banks would be the most effective tool to bring reform to Wall Street. This financial reform bill will usher in a new era for both financial institutions and consumers. Banks will have to learn to operate under increased scrutiny and face immediate consequences when they don’t play by the rules. I support the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and urge my colleagues to do the same.”

UPDATE @ 5:45 P.M.: From Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton:

Jerry McNerney “I voted today to protect American families and crack down on risky Wall Street practices that brought about the financial crisis. It’s just not right that American taxpayers should suffer as a result of Wall Street’s abuse of the financial system. This legislation sets in place commonsense rules that will help prevent another financial meltdown and protect consumers.”

“The area I represent has been particularly hard hit by the foreclosure crisis. I’ve held a number of local foreclosure prevention workshops with counselors from HUD-approved agencies. I know how important they are as a source of unbiased information for borrowers. These provisions will help ensure that the areas hardest hit by foreclosures are prioritized for resources and that borrowers have easily accessible information on how to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Prof. Babs Lee, gotta love her! It’s “insensible,” all right. Greedy Wall Street, the root of all evil. I’m no fan of godless Pete Stark, but his statement reads like Jefferson compared with Lee and Miller. Lee is plain dumb and Miller is too lazy to think.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    This extremely watered down version of Wall Street Reform will guarantee that we will have a double-dip depression, just as in the First Great Depression. continuing the Fall of the American Empire.

  • Elwood

       /ɪnˈsɛnsəbəl/ Show Spelled[in-sen-suh-buhl] Show IPA
    incapable of feeling or perceiving; deprived of sensation; unconscious, as a person after a violent blow.

    Excellent choice of words, Ms. Lee. You and your fellow dimmiecrats all sound like you’ve been kicked in the head.

  • John W

    I don’t know whether this legislation will help or not, but Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner’s comments are astonishing. According to him, the only problem was Fannie and Freddie. The rest of Wall Street was just fine, and we should leave them alone. He manages to slap down Obama for BOTH (a) imposing job-killing regulation of Wall Street and (b)helping out his “Wall Street allies.” He whines about bailouts but neglects to mention that he supported them when Bush’s Sec. of Treas. and the Fed Chairman requested them. But he couldn’t deliver his own GOP caucus (maybe because the rumors that he doesn’t work too hard and hits the bars at 5 pm are true). It was left to Pelosi and candidates Obama and McCain to show some statesmanship round up the votes, which saved us from falling over the cliff into another Great Depression.

  • Elwood

    Thank God for Stretch!

    “saved us from falling over the cliff into another Great Depression.”

    And here all this time I thought she was the wicked witch of the West!

  • Publius

    George Miller has been in office too long. When will my neighbors wake up and realize that he is a D-party puppet and a big labor schlep that has been destroying America’s entrepreneurial spirit from the inside out for over 30 years. Another career politician offering free handouts to secure yet another term. Miller and his merry band of liberals have taken America from the zenith of prosperity to a Greece like Socialist state, where the will to succeed (and sometimes fail) has been replaced with a sense of entitlement.
    The reign of king George can be summed up simply as thus; “Subsidize mediocrity and secure the vote”. For the sake of our children we have to change course now.

  • JK

    It’s been 3 months since a single drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico blew up and the US Government has done nothing more than talk. The Dutch offered a oil cleaning tanker that would have vacuumed up 99% of the oil, and it was turned down by the federal government. No cleanup is going on at the gulf beaches. The Federal government has refused 30 countries offers due to a 1920 Jones Act that prevents foreign-born sailors from working here, to protect US union jobs.

    And you think this federal government will be able to regulate banks and run the health industry?

    The end result of this regulation will be to centralize banking by shutting down regional banks across the country. The few large banks, most of which are semi-government owned, will be able to pass along the upcoming $100B in new bank taxes directly to all of us. No more free checking. $20 ATM fees. Less competition. Less choice. Fewer loans to fewer businesses. Fewer jobs. Less prosperity.

    With “Dems applaud”‘ing along with their media cohorts, you’d think that the people in this country would be happy about this.

    Until Nov 2 this year, that is. That’s when you’ll see yet another “unexpected” event reported by the media, when the 15 million unemployed will get to vote these socialists out of power.

  • BHO

    In addition to this bill’s well-publicized plans to establish over a dozen new financial regulatory offices, Section 342 sets up at least 20 Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion. This has had no coverage by the news media and has large implications.

    The Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, the Board of Governors of the Fed, the National Credit Union Administration, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…all would get their own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.

    Each office would have its own director and staff to develop policies promoting equal employment opportunities and racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of not just the agency’s workforce, but also the workforces of its contractors and sub-contractors.

  • Elwood

    Surely I’m not the only one who has noticed that most of Josh’s posts contain portraits of his heroes, Georgie Porgy and Bobby Lee.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Elwood: BaLee is much prettier than “For Pete’s Sake” Stark