The U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 11 passed an important bill, HR 4173. It’s called the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. and chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, was the prime sponsor of the bill, which creates a consumer Financial Protection Agency that would make important changes to the U.S. financial system, streamline regulation, and force Wall Street banks, hedge funds and credit card companies to be more responsible and accountable.
There weren’t many "yes" votes to spare. The tally was 223 to 202. Twenty-seven Democrats voted "no." Not a single Republican voted for the bill.
The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee is working on its own version of the measure passed by the House. The chairman of the Senate committee is Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.
President Obama has spoken in support of the House bill, and is seeking prompt approval of the bill which Dodd’s committee is preparing in the Senate.
But last week top House Republicans urged more than 100 financial industry lobbyists to work harder to defeat the bill. Lobbyists have spent more than $300 million this year trying to scuttle the legislation. And we used to think that the direction of pressure was from lobbyists to legislators!
I presume that Republican sympathizers in our Valley applaud the unanimous rejection of HR 4173 by Republicans in the House. But surely these folks do not believe that Congress should do nothing at all to change the way U.S. financial institutions function?
In rejecting what that the Other Party offers, Republicans must have a plan of their own to change Wall Street, attend to the interests of the public, and stave off another financial meltdown? But where is their plan?