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Wall Street Reform
For years regulatory loopholes and lax oversight allowed Wall Street and big banks to take unnecessary and irresponsible risks, jeopardizing not only their investors’ money but also the health of our economy as a whole.
This reckless behavior led directly to the financial crisis and deep recession from which we are just now beginning to recover. I strongly support comprehensive financial regulatory reform that includes robust consumer protections.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (HR 4173)
The President signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) into law on July 21, 2010. I voted for this bill when it first passed the House in December 2009, and also voted for the final Conference Report in June 2010.
Highlights of this landmark new law include:
- Creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect families and small businesses by ensuring that bank loans, mortgages, and credit cards are fair, affordable, understandable, and transparent.
- Ending predatory lending practices that occurred during the subprime lending frenzy.
- Shutting down “too big to fail” financial firms before risky and irresponsible behavior threatens to bring down the entire economy.
- Ending costly taxpayer bailouts with new procedures to unwind failing companies that pose the greatest risk – paid for by the financial industry, not taxpayers.
- Tough new rules on the riskiest financial practices that gambled with your money and caused the financial crash, like the credit default swaps that devastated AIG, and common sense regulation of derivatives and other complex financial products. Includes a strong “Volcker Rule” that generally restricts large financial firms with commercial banking operations from trading in speculative investments.
- More enforcement power and funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission, including requiring registration of hedge funds and private equity funds
- Enhanced oversight and transparency for credit rating agencies, whose seal of approval gave way to excessively risky practices that led to a financial collapse
- Reining in egregious executive compensation by allowing a ‘say on pay’ for shareholders, requiring independent directors on compensation committees, and limiting bank executive risky pay practices that jeopardize banks’ safety and soundness.
- New protections for grocers, retailers and other small businesses facing out-of-control swipe fees that banks and other credit and debit card issuers charge these businesses for debit or prepaid-card purchases.
- Audits the Federal Reserve's emergency lending programs from the financial crisis and limits the Fed's emergency lending authority.
Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act (P.L. 111-24)
For years credit card companies have taken advantage of consumers and small businesses with complicated credit card agreements and indecipherable fee structures. These practices cost consumers and small business billions in excess charges every year. The Credit CARD Act, signed into law on May 22, 2009, will help consumers better manage their credit and level the playing field between cardholders and card issuers. I strongly support this new law, which you can learn more about by clicking the links below.
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