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“The U.S. Public Interest Research Group applauds Chairman Christopher Dodd and a majority of the Senate Banking Committee for Monday evening’s vote to move a Wall Street reform package to the Senate floor. It’s been over a year and a half since taxpayers bailed out the Wall Street bankers after their reckless actions ravaged our economy and cost us our jobs, our retirement income and our homes. The prospect of floor action, while overdue, is welcome. U.S. PIRG and the state PIRGs will work to ensure that this package is improved in the floor voting expected before Memorial Day.
“The bill as passed includes several positive improvements. Nevertheless, we intend to work with Senator Dodd and other Senators to guarantee that the full Senate takes steps to fix the bill’s deficiencies.
“First, we will support amendments to make the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a stand-alone, fully independent agency with full authority over all firms, including small banks and payday lenders. Further, the agency’s actions cannot be subject to a veto by a council dominated by the regulators who failed to protect us – that’s a coalition of the unwilling.
“Second, the bill must guarantee that all the shadow market players – including derivatives, hedge funds, and private equity funds – are clearly and effectively regulated, without exceptions.
“Third, the bill needs the strongest possible guarantees to assure that no firm takes excessive risks or gambles with other people’s money and grows ‘too big to fail.’ The final bill must end ‘too big to fail,’ once and for all.
“While we will work to strengthen the bill and move it toward a conference with the House-passed bill, the public should be wary of the thousands of Wall Street lobbyists working in the dark shadows of the Capitol to defeat reform. We look forward instead to a televised floor fight where the question Senators will need to answer is simple: ‘Are you for Wall Street, or Main Street?’”
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