In a swift move, the Senate passed Thursday, May 20, its version of financial services reform, S. 3217, shortly after invoking cloture on the legislation the same day. The Senate passed the bill by a 59-39 vote, with two Democrats voting against the bill, and four Republicans voting for it. The Senate and House will now go to conference to reconcile their versions of financial reform. President Obama wants a final bill to sign by early July.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) were scheduled to meet with President Obama on Friday, May 21, to talk about the sweeping Wall Street reform bill. Frank said in a statement after the Senate bill passed that the House and Senate bills “are very similar, and the House is ready to go to conference to work out the remaining issues. I am confident that we can have a bill ready for President Obama’s signature very soon.”
After the cloture vote passed on the Restoring Financial Stability Act, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said, “It’s been hard to get to this point. But it was a good debate.”
Later Thursday, after the Senate passed the Restoring Financial Stability Act, Dodd said, “Covering four weeks and considering close to 60 amendments from members of both parties, represents the Senate at its best.” For “the first time ever,” Dodd continued, “there will be a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to watch out for the average citizen in our country….We will have transparency and accountability for derivatives with mandatory clearing and exchange trading.” A system will be in place, “so that when a giant company fails, it fails, its management is fired, its shareholders and creditors are wiped out, and never again will taxpayers be forced to bail them out.” And, Dodd said, there will be “an advance warning system, so somebody is on the lookout for the next big problem in the economy before it’s too late to do anything about it.”