Washington, DC—U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) released the following statement upon Senate passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection overhaul, an important and long-overdue measure that will help to safeguard the long-term stability of our economy. The bill passed by a vote of 60 to 39. Johnson said:
In the closing months of the Bush Administration, our nation faced an economic situation so dire that many feared our financial system was on the verge of collapse. We have now passed historic legislation that creates better accountability and transparency for Wall Street and the financial sector.
Virtually all of us have been impacted by the economic meltdown of the past two years in some way. Americans were rightly angry that while they were losing their homes, jobs, and long-term savings, they were also expected to foot the bill for the irresponsible actions of Wall Street CEOs.
It is clear that our economy has not yet fully recovered, but in the last year and a half, Congress has dedicated itself to turning our economy around. As a senior member of the Banking Committee, and a member of the Conference Committee, I have worked hard to identify the causes of the crisis and find the right solutions to address these causes.
While not perfect, this Wall Street reform bill does a great deal to address many of these problems. It creates a mechanism to monitor systemic risk in the financial sector, as well as regulating risky derivatives, credit default swaps and other complicated financial products that were not transparent and had previously gone unregulated. It affords consumers better rules governing the products they use and better information about those products by creating a consumer watchdog agency. Importantly, it also creates a way to unwind large financial firms without having to bail them out.
This bill gives financial institutions, regulators and consumers the right tools to make good decisions, and it also provides the right tools to prevent another crisis like the one we recently experienced.
Once this bill is signed into law, there will be an important focus on implementing this legislation correctly, as well as continued oversight by Congress of the agencies and covered financial institutions, and efforts at international coordination with our counterparts in other countries. It is also likely that there may need to be corrections and adjustments to the bill in the future. That said, passage of this bill is important to our nation’s economic recovery.