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Senate Passes Financial Reform, President Expected to Sign Final Package by July

On Thursday (May 20) evening, the Senate passed 59-39 down largely partisan lines its version of sweeping financial reform, The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S 3217), which focuses on everything from swipe fees to derivatives trading regulation. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), who helped spearhead a similar version out of the House months ago, say they should be able to craft final legislation from the two versions of reform within a month. Both expect the president to sign the reform legislation into law by July.

Dodd on the vote:

"With passage of the Wall Street Reform bill we have taken a major step towards creating a sound economic foundation for the American people we represent.  This is their victory.

For the first time ever we will have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to watch out for the average citizen in our country when they are abused by a financial market place that takes advantage of them on home mortgages and credit cards.

For the first time ever, we will have transparency and accountability for derivatives with mandatory clearing and exchange trading.

For the first time ever, we will have a system 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.

For the first time ever, we will have 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.

The debate we have had, covering four weeks, considering close to 60 amendments from members of both parties, represents the Senate at its best.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to produce a strong bill that will protect consumers, protect our economy, and hold Wall Street accountable."

Statement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

"How do you justify new costs and regulations on small businesses struggling to dig themselves out of a recession while the biggest banks, the ones that caused it, don't seem to mind them? How do you explain how a bill that was supposed to end bailouts will be used to collect financial data on Americans?

"Look: the only thing you need to know about this bill is that a bill that was meant to rein in Wall Street is now being endorsed by Goldman Sachs and is opposed by America's small businesses owners, community banks, credit unions and auto dealers. A bill that was supposed to rein in Wall Street is opposed by the Chamber of Commerce, but supported by Citigroup."

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