moving forward…

Posted on Wednesday 30 June 2010

One Down, One To Go:
House Passes Historic Wall Street Reform Bill
Talking Points Memo

by Brian Beutler
June 30, 2010

By a vote of 237-192, the House of Representatives this afternoon voted to pass final legislation dramatically changing the rules that govern the financial industry. Nineteen Democrats joined 173 Republicans in opposing the legislation, which, in addition to limiting the risky practices that lead to the 2008 collapse, will create a new federal agency dedicated to protecting consumers from predatory financial products, and bring to a close the Troubled Asset Relief Plan – the bailout program created by the Congress in the midst of the financial crisis. Three Republicans voted for the bill, and four members [two Democrats, two Republicans] did not vote.

The Senate is set to take up identical legislation shortly after they return from next week’s Independence Day recess. Democrats had hoped to send the Wall Street reform bill to President Obama by weeks end, but last minute hiccups in the Senate – objections of key Republicans and the death of Robert Byrd – ultimately made that impossible.

There’s still a nightmare scenario for Democrats: An unforeseen reneging by one of the three Republicans who helped shape the final compromise on the legislation could leave them a vote shy. And at this point, they have few if any means of changing the legislation. But the Democratic authors of the legislation – House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd – have both implied that the deal is done…
For such a tumultuous time, with so much fear, and so much fear mongering, there is a remarkable amount of business getting done in Washington. If Obama is fated to be a one term President, he’s going to turn out to have been one hell of a productive one-term President. And if Nancy Pelosi’s claim to fame used to be being the first female Speaker of the House, she’s going to be remembered for being one of the really effective Speakers who got the job done. Of course the Senate passage isn’t guaranteed, but it’s already an accomplishment for things to get this far and still have the nucleus of real financial reform.

I must say that the divisive and contemptuous climate in Washington is no fun for me. It’s hard to retain much focus on the actual content of the Congressional Bills because of the downright nasty rhetoric that accompanies almost everything that happens. If Fox News weren’t enough, the spitting and sputtering of John Boehner and his colleagues is monotonous and irresponsible. Yesterday’s suggestion to raise the retirement age to 70 so we can pay off our war debt is typical. He can’t be serious with things like that. It must aimed at keeping the flames burning. I hope their supporters are as tired of hearing it as I am. Congress is actually trying to get some things done in a time when there’s plenty to do. I wish they’d let us enjoy their efforts…

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