The U.S. Senate Thursday approved changing how the federal government watches over Wall Street and other financial transactions. Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted against the plan, as did all but three Republicans in the Senate.
The legislation now heads to President Barack Obama, who is likely to sign it into law. It would change the government’s watchdog powers in several ways. It creates a new consumer protection bureau within the Federal Reserve that monitors credit cards, home mortgages, loans, and other financial products. The protection bureau would try to prevent deceptive and abusive practices.
The legislation would also allow the government to break up and liquidate large insolvent banks and financial institutions using funds from fees on those institutions, rather than taxpayer dollars. New regulations on derivatives, a type of investment product, would also become law.
Crapo, who serves on the Senate committee that deals with banking, has been a longtime critic of the plan.
“This bill makes credit more expensive which will impact Main Street and job creation,” Crapo said in a news release after the Senate passed the plan. “The best way to get people back to work and improve their financial condition is for employers to have adequate access to the credit they need.”
Crapo also said the new consumer protection bureau would expand government bureaucracy and put more than 500 new regulations on people and small businesses. “When coupled with the tightening of credit, this will further stifle the economy and job creation, which will certainly affect struggling individuals seeking employment,” Crapo said.
Idaho Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick voted yes on the plan when it passed in the House of Representatives. Minnick told IdahoReporter.com that the plan contains more good than bad, and that the new safeguards in the legislation could prevent some of the problems that led to the 2008 Wall Street bailout.
AARP Idaho came out in favor of the plan, and said it will let its 180,000 members know that Crapo and Risch opposed the plan. The group said in a news release that the new regulations could stop more older Idahoans’ retirement nest eggs from being cracked.
“We are disappointed in Senators Crapo and Risch for voting against important financial reforms for Idaho consumers,” said Jim Wordelman, the group’s state director. “For too long consumers and investors have made critical decisions about their finances with too little information, the Wall Street Reform Act helps change that, while putting in place critical protections for all Americans.”