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Miller, U.S. House, Vote to Help Main Street, Hold Wall Street Accountable
Bay Area Families and Small Businesses Triumph in Financial Reform Bill
Washington, DC – House passage today of the final Wall Street reform legislation is a big win for Bay Area families and small businesses, Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said after the vote. The bill passed 237 to 192 with only three Republicans voting yea.
“Today’s vote to hold Wall Street accountable is a triple win -- for families, small businesses, and consumers in our community,” Miller said. “Every family in my congressional district has suffered from this devastating economic recession, the worst to hit our country since the Great Depression. And it was caused through a combination of greed on Wall Street and a culture among Washington Republicans under President Bush who turned away from any accountability for financial firms.
“The effects have been severe -- sustained double-digit unemployment, too many Bay Area homes going into foreclosure each month, small businesses in shopping centers around the Bay Area fighting to stay alive but starved for credit. We cannot, and I will not, leave this system of greed and unaccountability unchanged.
“In addition to other steps we have taken to rescue the economy and create jobs, this bill protects consumers through common sense rules to stop predatory lending and bar mortgage offers to people who can’t afford them. It prevents lenders from getting bonuses for steering borrowers into higher cost loans, and enhances penalties for lenders making irresponsible loans,” Miller said.
“This bill, while it is only a first step at holding Wall Street accountable, is still the greatest single improvement to financial accountability in America in generations. One bill alone cannot avert a crisis, we all know that. But this bill will make a huge difference in our ability to try to prevent future crises and to better respond to them if they occur, and it will better protect consumers day by day from unscrupulous practices” Miller added. “For too long, reckless deregulation and Wall Street greed were the hallmarks of our financial system and left us in financial chaos. This bill ends that dangerous setup and provides one more step in our ongoing effort to get the American economy back on its feet.”
There are many important aspects to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which is expected to win Senate approval and President Obama’s signature shortly. Miller highlighted a few areas in particular. The bill:
· Includes $1 billion for a new emergency mortgage relief program to provide bridge loans to unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure, which Miller requested, as well as $1 billion in new funds for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which has already helped communities in Miller’s congressional district, including Richmond and Vallejo, begin to rehabilitate neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis.
· Will help prevent the risky financial practices that led to the financial meltdown and stop Wall Street financial firms from gambling with Americans’ retirement and college savings and home values.
· Will protect taxpayers from any longer paying the price for Wall Street’s irresponsibility. The bill creates a resolution authority to shut down large, failing financial firms. After exhausting all of the company’s assets, any additional costs would be covered by a “dissolution fund,” funded entirely by large financial corporations.
· Will restrict trading in dangerous products like the derivatives that brought down AIG and Lehman Brothers.
· 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. One of the key functions of the new CFPB is to start improving minimum credentials and standards for financial advisors. With these changes, consumers will be better protected when investing their savings for school or retirement.