Bennet: Main Street Wins With Landmark Wall Street Reform

Bennet Votes for the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010

Washington, DC – Standing on the side of Colorado taxpayers and consumers on Main Street, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today voted for historic legislation that lays out new rules for Wall Street, cracks down on big bank abuses, improves accountability and transparency in the financial sector, ends taxpayer-funded bailouts and protects consumers.

The ‘Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010’ passed in the Senate by a 59-39 vote and is now one major step closer to being sent to President Obama’s desk.

“Tonight, Main Street got a win over Wall Street,” Bennet said. “The common-sense bill we passed will end taxpayer-funded bailouts, bring more transparency and accountability to Wall Street, and protect and empower Colorado consumers.”

The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 was strengthened by several provisions championed by Bennet, including the bipartisan ‘Pay It Back’ Plan. Bennet’s ‘Pay it Back’ amendment reduces the size of the bailout fund known as TARP by $150 billion and prevents Treasury from redirecting unused funds for new programs. It also ensures that repaid banking, housing and auto bailout funds—totaling more than $180 billion to date—are used to pay down the deficit, not fund further spending.

“The Pay It Back Plan is a great addition to the Wall Street reform bill,” added Bennet. “Taxpayers who were forced to bring the big Wall Street banks back from the brink of collapse are now assured that the bailout fund is being wound down. This amendment ensures that paid back bailout funds will be used to pay down the deficit, so our kids aren’t saddled with a debt Washington is unable to pay.”

For more on the Pay it Back Plan, click here.

Along with pushing for the Pay It Back Plan, Bennet made continuous efforts to strengthen Wall Street reform and preserve its consumer protections.

In the Banking Committee:

  • Passed an amendment clarifying that a broker’s disclosures contain clear and understandable information on investment objectives, fees and risks to individuals either purchasing mutual funds or rolling over their 401(k)s;
  • Passed two amendments strengthening the oversight over credit rating agencies that have struggled with conflicts of interest and lackluster performance throughout the recent financial crisis;
  • One ensures that these agencies have independent directors tasked with minimizing conflicts of interest and strengthening oversight. The other measure clarifies the SEC’s ability to prosecute credit rating agencies for fraud. For more on the provisions adopted by the Banking Committee, click here.

In the Agriculture Committee:

  • Voted for the Agriculture Committee’s version of the bill, which is considered the strongest bill on derivatives ever.

On the Senate Floor:

  • Voted for an amendment that would ban “liar loans” by requiring stronger documentation and underwriting standards when obtaining a mortgage. It would also prohibit payments to mortgage originators for steering homebuyers into loans with higher interest rates or other unfavorable terms;
  • Voted for an amendment that reduces conflicts of interest and “ratings shopping” by having credit rating agencies randomly assigned to evaluate securities issuers;
  • Voted for an audit of the Federal Reserve to develop a better understanding of the Fed’s actions in the recent financial crisis;
  • Helped defeat a Chambliss amendment that would have weakened Wall Street reform’s regulation of derivatives trading—largely seen as a significant cause of the financial crisis;
  • Helped defeat a Shelby amendment, which would have weakened the bill’s consumer protections;
  • Voted for an amendment that would allow states to cap interest rates on credit cards. Unfortunately, the amendment failed;
  • Voted for an amendment to ban “naked” credit default swaps, which enable Wall Street firms to gamble on failures in our markets. Unfortunately, the amendment failed.