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Congressman Garamendi Votes to Reduce Abuses of Wall Street

June 30, 2010
Press Release

Historic Bill Will Help Prevent Future Financial Crises,
Help Homeowners, Investors, and Small Business Owners

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today voted to rein in Wall Street, end taxpayer bailouts of big banks, bolster homeowner protections, and create a consumer financial protection bureau that finally puts consumers first. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will end the era of abuses by “too big to fail” banks that have cost the American people 8 million jobs and $17 trillion in retirement savings and net worth. The bill passed 237 to 192 with only three Republicans voting in favor.

"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," Congressman Garamendi said. "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."

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will help prevent the risky financial practices that led to the financial meltdown and stop large financial firms from gambling with Americans’ retirement and college savings and home values. In addition, taxpayers will no longer pay the price for Wall Street’s irresponsibility. The bill creates a process to shut down large, failing firms whose collapse would put the entire economy at risk. After exhausting all of the company’s assets, additional costs would be covered by a “dissolution fund,” to which all large financial firms would contribute.

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

The bill will create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new consumer watchdog devoted to protecting Americans from unfair and abusive financial practices. This independent bureau will provide clear and accurate information to families and small businesses to ensure that bank loans, mortgages, and credit cards are fair and affordable. Just like the FDA does for medical safety, the CFPA will set safety standards to prevent practices such as hidden credit card fees, deceptive “fine print,” and other financial abuses that have escaped oversight so far.

The bill has been called the “strongest set of Wall Street reforms in three generations” by Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the nonpartisan Congressional Oversight Panel, and has been endorsed by the AARP, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Council of Institutional Investors, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Restaurant Association, Public Citizen, SEIU, and US PIRG, among other organizations. The bill was publicly debated for more than 50 hours, and includes over 70 Republican and bipartisan amendments.