This week, the House and Senate conferees continue their conference committee meetings on the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act–common-sense reforms that hold Wall Street and the Big Banks accountable. Tomorrow, the conferees meet at noon on provisions addressing consumer protection, risk retention, mortgage reform and anti-predatory lending.
While House Republicans met with 100 banking and special interest lobbyists in an effort to kill Wall Street reform legislation (with Republican Leader John Boehner instructing the American Bankers Association, “don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves…the more regulations you have to comply with the more cost you have there and less amount you are going to have available to loan to customers”) and voted unanimously against the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, newspaper editorials are in strong support of reform:
The Mankato Free Press Editorial (Minnesota) — Our View: Financial overhaul needs to get done:
For the members of House and Senate working to forge a compromise financial overhaul bill we have on one thing to say: Let's get a move on it.
…While the news and focus in Washington has been dominated by the BP oil spill, this legislation is too important to let fall by the wayside.
…The bill addresses what has become widely viewed as weakness of the financial system when it nearly crumbled in the fall of 2008.
While no bill is perfect, the financial reform bill seems to have the building blocks of a structure that will help the U.S. government do what it failed to do in 2008: Discover risks to the economy created by lax oversight and enforce laws designed to mitigate those risks and protect consumers.
Congress needs to get this bill done now.
Las Vegas Sun Editorial — Financial reform smart:
Congress is on the right track in moving quickly to overhaul regulation of the nation's financial industry and end the abuses that contributed to the current recession.
…We face a situation of soaring layoffs caused by the recession and many Americans unable to make mortgage and personal debt payments — with Las Vegas and Nevada generally leading the nation in these areas with our record unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates.
Having put the nation on a course of economic stabilization, President Barack Obama and Congress are focusing on measures to prevent this from happening again.
The idea is to give consumers a fair shake while ensuring no bank, insurance company or investment firm again becomes too big to fail…
Boston Globe Editorial — Congress must try to improve final Wall Street reform bill:
…If conferees adopt the toughest parts of the House and Senate bills, the result would be a significant improvement in the oversight of the financial system.
…Two years ago, the financial system came unglued because of opacity in the markets, excessive risk by banks, and an indifference to how overzealous mortgage lending affected real-world consumers. Since then, intense lobbying by Wall Street and other special interests has caused the sense of urgency to dissipate. But if Americans can have regulations to protect their water, their meat, and their baby toys, they should not be denied the strictest possible regulation to protect their money.
New York Times Editorial — Battle Over Reform:
…Nearly two years later, and Americans are still paying and paying for the financial sector's excesses, and the regulators' weakness and indolence. They are rightly furious at record profits and bonuses at bailed-out banks. K Street wants Congress to forget, but the voters have not.
…In order for the financial system to avoid more disasters, derivatives must be traded on transparent exchanges, with only very narrow exemptions, and there must be legal recourse against banks that violate the requirements. Banks must be required to pay into a fund to cover the costs of dismantling failing institutions. Brokers must have to put investors' financial interests first.
Anything less is not real reform. Anything less means that the system could implode again.
St. Petersburg Times Editorial (Florida) — Financial reform headed in the right direction:
…While far from perfect, the Senate and House bills generally accomplish the same goals: They force risky derivatives trading out of the shadows, allow for the dismantling of large troubled financial institutions, toughen capital requirements, strengthen consumer protection and reform the credit ratings agencies.
…There is still much work to be done by congressional negotiators, but financial reform is finally headed in the right direction.
The Daily News Tribune Editorial (Massachusetts) — At last, reform for Wall Street:
…In its broad outlines, the reform package is very close to what the Obama administration asked for, and represents a setback for the powerful financial-industry lobby.
…Considering the politics of the issue, it’s surprising that regulatory reform came as close as it did to stalling. Following the meltdown, the big banks and investment houses were politically unlovable, particularly after congressional hearings when they came off as reckless and amoral in the pursuit of profit. The pro-overhaul forces were able to frame reform as Wall Street vs. Main Street, as Obama did again this weekend: “Put simply, Wall Street reform will bring greater security to folks on Main Street.”