By Libby Casey
Alaska’s Senators split their votes this week on a financial reform bill that passed 59 to 39. Democrats largely supported it, and all but 4 Republicans were against it.
The bill still has to be reconciled with a House version… so it’s not done yet.
As it stands it would keep taxpayer dollars from paying for bank bailouts… and start a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to help people caught up in bad loans and with complaints or concerns against banks.
Unlike most bills that weaken as Congress negotiates compromises, Senate members say this legislation grew more layered, because of public outcry over Wall Street’s power.
Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich voted for it. He says regulating banks needs to start somewhere:
Made more disclosure, made more responsibly. And again giving consumers avenue for redress when they believe they’ve been wronged by a financial institution. I was pleased with that because it finally went the right direction, rather than watering something down we strengthened it even more.
Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski voted AGAINST the bill, saying it will over-regulate small banks and credit unions. She says it could go as far as to regulate orthodontists who let patients pay in installments. She calls it “burdensome” and says it creates a “massive new Washington bureaucracy.”
But Begich disagrees, and says changes made to the bill will keep small banks from getting swept up in regulations.
All those are just red herrings, in regards to doctors and all that stuff. The real issue, when we did credit card reform many months ago they complained would create crisis, won’t help the consumers. Interesting to note that reform, most recently reported as of Monday by the banking association will save people 5 billion dollars. So here they are on Wall Street reform giving the same kind of scare tactics.
Murkowski also complains that the bill doesn’t tackle problems with federal mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Begich says should be follow-up later with the lenders, and it’s a separate issue that should be addressed on its own.