Wall Street reform bill clears Senate — its last hurdle

WASHINGTON — The last hurdle between the Wall Street reform bill and President Obama’s signing pen has been cleared. Now, it’s just a matter of time.

The Senate agreed to the conference report on a 60-39 vote today. Both Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted yes, as expected.

Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin bucked his party to vote no, while Republican Sens. Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (Massachusetts, Maine & Maine, respectively) crossed over to vote yes. Earlier in the day, the Northeast moderates’ votes were key in attaining the necessary 60 to cut off debate and bring the bill up for a vote.

Franken praised the measure, saying in a statement that the legislation “will protect Minnesota consumers and hold Wall Street accountable.”

He added: “We need to do everything in our power to make sure that the financial meltdown of 2008 never happens again. Today we took strong steps to address the roots of that collapse, including my own provision designed to end the conflicts of interest in the credit rating system.”

“The reckless gambling on Wall Street cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and nest eggs,” Klobuchar said. “Trillions of dollars in wealth were gambled away because of a financial system that lacked the necessary safeguards to protect Main Street. This bill establishes safeguards to protect our economy and will help bring accountability back to our financial system.”

The House approved the conference report earlier this month on a largely party-line 237-192 vote.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, before the Senate voted, called for the bill’s repeal. John Engler, the former Michigan Republican governor who now heads the National Association of Manufacturers, blasted the bill as something that “hurts job creation.”

“Our nation’s unemployment still hovers close to 10 percent and manufacturers face ever-growing challenges as we emerge from this recession,” Engler said. “This legislation will only add more costs and have a negative impact on those who had nothing to do with the financial crisis.  We need to focus on policies that will grow our economy and enable job creation.”

President Obama is tentatively expected to sign the bill late next week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters earlier today aboard Air Force One as Obama flew from Washington to Michigan, where he spoke at a car battery factory.

“I know the President looks forward to signing that bill as soon as possible,” Gibbs said. “It is a big step forward, and it is part of the President’s economic recovery plan.” 

“We talked about this at the very beginning of the administration. We cannot continue to operate using the same rules that got us into this mess.  And I think this will be a vote that Democrats will talk about through November as a way of highlighting the choice that people will get to make in 2010.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 07/16/2010 - 07:36 am.

    Senators Franken and Klobuchar are Wall Street Obama puppets who voted for cloture on this bill to prevent a vote on the wildly popular Feingold/McCain/Cantwell restitution of Glass Steagall amendment. Without Glass Steagall, and the ORIGINAL BLANCHE LINCOLN Derivatives regulation, this bill is worthless, despite anti Wall Street posturing by Franken/Klobuchar.

    Here is the truth, as spoken by Senator Feingold (D-Wi), who was one of nine (9) Senators to vote against the repeal of Glass Steagall in 1999. That “deregulation” was the primary cause of our current economic DEPRESSION.

    “Wall Street and its allies have been calling the shots in Congress for decades, so they must be glad to see how things are shaping up on financial regulatory reform. Congress is about to vote on a final bill that fails to fix the key flaws in the bills passed by both the House and Senate. At the start of this process I made clear that I had a simple test for financial reform — will it stop another financial meltdown? This bill fails that test, and I won’t support legislation that fails to protect the people of Wisconsin from the pain of another economic disaster. And I don’t need to be lectured about this issue by people who supported the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which paved the way for this terrible recession.”

  2. Submitted by Jeff Fenner on 07/16/2010 - 10:42 am.

    Senator Franken states “We need to do everything in our power to make sure that the financial meltdown of 2008 never happens again. Today we took strong steps to address the roots of that collapse, including my own provision designed to end the conflicts of interest in the credit rating system.”

    And yet…there’s nothing in the bill that works to fix the issues with Fannie and Freddie Mae… Again we’re pushing regulation to give credit to credit challenged buyers…isn’t that the very thing that got us into the mess to begin with? Not seeing the reform here…

  3. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 07/16/2010 - 11:48 am.

    Before the vote, Sen. Richard Shelby (Repub., Ala.) mocked the perpetrators, by contrasting them to Franklin Roosevelt’s Democrats: “The Banking Committee never produced a single report on or conducted an investigation into any aspect of the financial crisis.”

    “In contrast,” Shelby continued, “during the Great Depression, the Banking Committee set up an entire subcommittee to examine what regulatory reforms were needed. The Pecora Commission, as it came to be known, interviewed, under oath, the big actors on Wall Street, and produced a multi-volume report.

    “Unfortunately, this time around, the Democrat-run Committee gave Wall Street executives a pass. There were no investigations, no depositions, and no subpoenas…. Chairman Dodd never called on the likes of Robert Rubin, Lloyd Blankfein, or Angelo Mozilo, just to name a few, to testify before the Committee. Not a single individual from AIG’s Financial Products division was questioned by the Committee or its staff…. Most amazingly, the Banking Committee did not hold even a single hearing on the final bill before its mark up.”

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