FinReg Has the Votes to Pass … Maybe
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) signed on overnight, meaning that the sweeping Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill, the Obama administration’s second signature piece of legislation, has the votes to pass. A final vote is expected for Thursday, and Obama is likely to sign the bill into law that day.
But wait! A last-minute spoiler from none other than Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who held up the Democrats’ other banner legislative initiative, health care reform. He now says he is not sure whether he will vote for the bill — because he does not know who will head the consumer financial protection bureau. Of course, the bill is not yet law, and therefore nobody has been named to head the bureau. (The Obama administration itself does not know who it will name.) But Nelson is still apparently concerned that the bureau might go “rogue,” and, say, arbitrarily decide that cell phone contracts can only be purchased in cash on Tuesdays. Watch this space.
Here’s Snowe’s statement:
To ensure we avoid another financial catastrophe such as the one that plunged our nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is imperative that we implement an aggressive overhaul of the American financial regulatory system. And this effort must include real and substantial consequences for those whose reckless actions caused the crisis in the first place while guaranteeing the transparency and accountability of taxpayer dollars. After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it’s brought before the Senate for consideration. I appreciate Chairman Dodd’s efforts during the conference process to successfully preserve the numerous amendments I had included in the initial bill to address the many unnecessary regulatory burdens on small businesses within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and preserve small businesses’ ability to access capital, particularly through seasonal loans. While not perfect, the legislation takes necessary steps to implement meaningful regulatory reforms, create strong consumer protections, and restore confidence in the American financial system.