WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, today issued the following statement upon Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's introduction of financial reform legislation:
"In the fall of 2008, the Bush administration came to Congress asking for a $700 billion blank check to bail out Wall Street. Congress acted swiftly to prevent the collapse of our financial system, but demanded taxpayer protections, limits on CEO compensation, and strong oversight measures. But that was the start of our work, not the end of it.
"We need to enact tough rules to ensure that middle class taxpayers will never again have to pay for Wall Street's mistakes. That means passing financial reform that will prevent any one bank from jeopardizing our entire financial system. That means a consumer protection agency with teeth to prevent Ohioans from predatory lending and investors from another bubble. And that means preventing banks from using risky instruments to generate a quick profit at the expense of their long-term viability and our future.
"Wall Street banks - and some of their allies on Capitol Hill - are intent on blocking meaningful reform. They'll attempt to slow-walk the bill, water it down, or kill it through delay. After months of discussion, Chairman Dodd is right to press forward. For the past decade, Ohioans have been ripped off by predatory lenders and whole neighborhoods have been hollowed out. It is past time to act.
"It is clear we need an independent consumer protection agency with robust authority to prevent shady practices. We need to prevent future taxpayer bailouts by ensuring one bank cannot trigger the collapse of our financial system. We need to fix our credit rating agencies - which fell asleep on the job and let Wall Street peddle junk investments. And we need to get tough on banks that use risky financial instruments that jeopardize our financial system. These financial ‘weapons of mass destruction' should be treated as such.
"Special interests will fight tooth and nail against real financial reform. If they win, middle class taxpayers lose."