House Passes Financial Reform Bill

The House of Representatives today passed the Wall Street Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act, with a 223-202 vote. No Republicans voted for the bill, and 27 Democrats joined the nay column, If passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, the bill would create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and either fix a broken financial system or lead to a government takeover of Wall Street, depending on your perspective.

President Obama praised the bill’s passage, saying:

The crisis from which we are still recovering was born not only of failure on Wall Street, but also in Washington. We have a responsibility to learn from it and to put in place reforms that will promote sound investment, encourage real competition and innovation and prevent such a crisis from ever happening again.

Republicans countered that the bill will lead to further financial crises and government control of private businesses. “Their bill will continue the destruction of jobs in this country,” said New Jersey Republican Scott Garrett. Jeb Hensarling of Texas grumbled that the bill will impose “sweeping draconian powers” on the financial sector.

Consumer advocates were generally positive in their response. Consumers Union President Jim Guest praised the CFPA, saying it “would go a long way toward stopping the deceptive practices that helped spark the economic crisis a year ago.” But Public Citizen pointed out that loopholes and compromises made the bill weaker than it should have been. “The bill does very little to address industry structure,” the group said. “The biggest banks are now bigger than they were before the crisis.”

Questions, answers on Wall Street regulation bill [AP]
House financial reform bill would be good for consumers [Consumer Reports Money & Shopping Blog]

Earlier: Action Alert: Stop The CFPA Gutting