Republicans have yet again put their political interests ahead of the well-being of the American people. By refusing to allow debate on Wall Street reform, they have sent a clear message: Senate Republicans are on the side of big banks and Wall Street CEOs. This disingenuous, obstructionist attitude was set in motion last month after Senate Republicans met behind closed doors with the CEOs of big banks. They returned and promptly started trying to water down legislation that would rein in corporate greed and excess on Wall Street.
Senate Democrats want to restore accountability and transparency to Wall Street, and have brought forward historic reform legislation to protect American consumers, investors and businesses from the greed and recklessness that brought our economy to the brink of collapse. The Restoring American Financial Stability Act puts in place the strongest consumer financial protections ever and will help put a stop to the reckless behavior that cost Americans over 8 million jobs and trillions of dollars in savings.
By choosing to side with Wall Street over the American people, Republicans have voted against legislation that will:
· End Taxpayer Bailouts. As long as giant financial firms believe the government will bail them out if they get into trouble, they only have the incentive to get larger and take bigger risks. This bill guarantees that taxpayers will never again be forced to bail out reckless Wall Street firms by creating a safe orderly liquidation mechanism for the FDIC to unwind failing significant financial companies; shareholders and unsecured creditors will bear losses; and management will be removed.
· End “Too Big To Fail.” The bill provides for strict new capital, leverage, liquidity, risk management and other requirements as companies grow in size and complexity, with significant requirements on companies that pose risks to the financial system. The Federal Reserve will be authorized, as a last resort, to require a large complex company, to divest some of its holdings if it poses a grave threat to the financial stability of the United States.
· Put a New Cop on The Beat. The bill establishes the Financial Stability Oversight Council to focus on identifying, monitoring and addressing systemic risks posed by large, complex financial firms as well as products and activities that spread risk across firms.
· Bring Sunlight and Transparency to Shadowy Markets. The legislation eliminates loopholes that allow risky and abusive practices to go unnoticed and unregulated – including loopholes for over-the-counter derivatives, asset-backed securities, hedge funds, mortgage brokers and payday lenders.
· Guarantee Clear Information in Plain English. The bill creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will have the sole job of protecting American consumers from unfair, deceptive and abusive financial products and practices and will ensure people get the clear information they need on loans and other financial products from credit card companies, mortgage brokers, banks and others.
· Protect Against Bernie Madoff-Type Scams. The SEC has failed to perform aggressive oversight and is unable to understand some of the very companies it is supposed to regulate. This bill creates a program within the SEC to encourage people to report securities violations and mandates an annual assessment of the SEC’s internal supervisory controls. The bill also establishes a new Office of Credit Rating Agencies at the SEC to strengthen regulation of credit rating agencies, many of which failed in the past to warn people about risks hidden throughout layers of complex structures.