This was a vote on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating legislation designed to prevent the kind of major financial crises that had recently occurred, and to implement the most significant regulatory reform of the financial industry since the Great Depression. The legislation had been developed in response to the severe problems in the finance and banking industries that had contributed to the ongoing economic downturn the country was experiencing.
Rep. Perlmutter (D-CO) was leading the support for the rule. Referring to the crisis that the financial industry had recently experienced, he said: “The banking system is our nation's circulatory system for our economy; and last year that circulatory system had a heart attack. We cannot and will not let the banking system fail . . . .”
He claimed that one of the things that the legislation accomplishes is to insure “that there is no place to hide by closing loopholes, improving consolidated supervision, and establishing robust regulatory oversights.” Perlmutter also claimed that the legislation “puts the regulation of consumer protection on a level playing field with the regulation of safety and soundness of our financial institutions . . . (and keeps) watch over predatory practices that some lenders have shown a propensity to pursue.” He concluded his remarks by declaring that the systematic changes made by the bill “are essential to rebuilding Main Street and getting credit flowing to small businesses, creating jobs, and rebuilding our economy . . . .”
Rep. Dreier (R-CA) was leading the opposition to the rule. He first agreed that there was a need to “reform our financial regulatory system to prevent the kind of catastrophic breakdown that occurred last year . . . .” Dreier then added: “Unfortunately, the legislation being considered fails on all counts. (It makes our regulatory system) more complicated and less accountable, more unworkable and less transparent.”
Dreier argued that the focus should not be on whether regulation is increased or diminished. Rather, it should be “about making (regulation) smarter, more accountable, and more effective. The Democratic majority's so-called reform bill takes us in the opposite direction. By adding multiple layers of new bureaucracy and making agencies like the Federal Reserve even less accountable than before, they threaten to compound the very problems that led to our current situation . . . by further tangling this Byzantine mess of regulators and super regulators (which) . . .will further tie up credit that families and small businesses desperately need . . .” Dreier also claimed that the bill ultimately would “reduce consumers' access to credit, destroy jobs, and leave our deficit spiraling out of control.”
The rule setting the terms for debating the major financial regulatory reform bill was approved by a vote of 235-177. All two hundred and thirty-five “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Seven other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy Republicans and voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to begin consideration of legislation designed to prevent major financial crises and to implement the most significant regulatory reform of the financial industry since the Great Depression.