Sen. Lincoln welcomes Senate passage of tough Wall Street legislation

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 20 – Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) issued the following statement Thursday after the Senate passed the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010” on a bipartisan 59-39 vote. The legislation includes Lincoln’s strong reforms for the derivatives market, overcoming repeated attempts by her committee’s Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and others to water down those provisions.

“This historic legislation is about more than just changing the way Wall Street does business. It’s about helping families save for college, protecting retirees, ensuring small businesses can get loans and creating new jobs on

Main Street

“As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I was proud to craft the bill’s strong derivatives title. My legislation brings a $600 trillion market into the light of day and ends the days of Wall Street’s backroom deals. These strong reforms will rein in the greedy behavior that nearly destroyed our economy, hurting Arkansas small businesses and costing millions of Americans their jobs.”

Lincoln promised to “continue to stand up to Wall Street lobbyists and special interest groups to advocate for these reforms as we work to get this bill signed into law.”

Critics of Lincoln’s derivatives provisions charged they would drive up costs to end users and could drive lucrative derivatives business overseas. Lincoln, CFTC Chair Gary Gensler and others responded that the greater transparency provided under new trading rules will bring down end users costs and result in a more user-friendly market now that real-time trading information will be available to all users rather than known only to Wall Street financial firms.

In Thursday's 59-39 vote for the bill, four Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats: Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Scott Brown (R-MA). Two Democrats missed the vote since their votes were needed for passage: Sens. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV). The two Democrats who voted against passage, Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI), were registering their disappointment with a bill they felt wasn't tough enough on Wall Street.

With Senate passage of its Wall Street bill Thursday, the next step is for the Senate and House to hammer out differences between the Senate bill and the version passed by the House last December. Democrats hope that step will be relatively straightforward and result in a final bill which can be signed by President Obama within the next month or so.

President Obama himself welcomed the long-sought Senate victory for legislation which he had considered one of his primary objectives. He commented Thursday that “Over the last year, the financial industry has repeatedly tried to end this reform with hordes of lobbyists. Today, I think it is fair to say that those efforts have failed.” He predicted that “Wall Street reform will bring greater security to folks on

Main Street
. This is not a zero-sum game where Wall Street loses and
Main Street
wins.” He said “Every American has an interest in a healthy financial sector.”

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