Saturday, December 12, 2009

House Cracks Down on Banksters

This is just the first step, but it seems like one in the right direction. The House passed a regulatory bill to oversee the banksters on a vote of 223 to 202.
The 1,279-page House bill would create a new federal agency dedicated to consumer protection, establish a council of regulators to police the financial landscape for systemic risks, initiate oversight of the vast derivatives market and give the government power to wind down large, troubled firms whose collapse could endanger the entire financial system. The legislation also would give shareholders an advisory say on executive compensation, increase transparency of credit-ratings agencies and set aside billions of dollars to aid unemployed homeowners.
Unsurprisingly no Republicans voted in favor and quite a few Democrats crossed over to join them in opposition. Mostly ConservaDems, but also Kucinich. I assume because he thought it wasn't strong enough. Or maybe because the completely reasonable cram down amendment was stripped from the bill.

Of course, now it has to survive the Senate, where Lord knows what awful slicing they'll do on any meaningful oversight. Nonetheless, Obama praised the bill and urged the Senate to move on it ASAP. He also had some hard words for the banksters and their pet lobbyists. And he responded to the critics that say the bill will "stifle innovation" rather firmly.
"Americans don't choose to be victimized by mysterious fees, changing terms and pages and pages of fine print. And while innovation should be encouraged, risky schemes that threaten our entire economy should not," he said. "We can't afford to let the same phony arguments and bad habits of Washington kill financial reform and leave American consumers and our economy vulnerable to another meltdown."
Which reminds me, I seem to be seeing some change in attitude in our president. Lately he seems to be shaking off that "can't we all get along" persona and is much more willing to call the obstructionists out. So there's that. [h/t John Cole]

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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