Senate passes measures that will bring transparency to financial system, help prevent future economic crises

May 20, 2010

(Washington, D.C.)-U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today announced the Senate's passage of Wall Street reform legislation that will protect families and small businesses by reining in Wall Street's risky practices and holding banks more accountable. The legislation, which will now be merged with the House bill, includes important provisions that will prevent taxpayers bailouts of big banks and increase transparency in the financial sector.  The financial collapse caused by Wall Street affected middle class families and small businesses across New Hampshire, with almost 34,000 private sector jobs lost in the state in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

"Reckless Wall Street conduct brought the economy to its knees, and people in New Hampshire and across the country are still suffering the consequences," said Shaheen.  "This bill will bring the accountability and transparency we need to the financial sector, protect families and businesses from abusive practices, and prevent taxpayers from having to bail out Wall Street."

The bill will protect families and small businesses by:

  • Preventing taxpayers from having to bail out Wall Street firms by creating an orderly way to liquidate failed firms without using taxpayer money.
  • Preventing financial institutions from making risky side bets for their own profit instead of helping businesses finance their growth plans and families save for their retirement and kids' college educations.
  • Protecting consumers from abusive practices and empowering them to make the right financial choices for their families. 
  • Ensuring that consumers get the information they need in plain English when they shop for mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products.
  • Closing loopholes and bringing transparency to the shadowy derivatives and commodities futures markets.
  • Stopping Wall Street firms from growing so big and so interconnected that they can threaten our entire economy. 

Shaheen cosponsored several amendments to the bill, including amendments that ensure that taxpayers will never have to bail out Wall Street banks, a long held position by Shaheen who voted against bailing out the banks in 2009. Two amendments that Shaheen cosponsored will help prevent manipulation and close loopholes in the shadowy derivative and commodity futures trading markets.  In addition, Shaheen supported an amendment that will give consumers free access to their credit score once per year. Shaheen also cosponsored several amendments to the bill that protect community banks, including an amendment that will make sure community banks are not forced to pay more than their fair share for federal bank insurance. Finally, Shaheen cosponsored an amendment included in the bill to audit the Federal Reserve to ensure full transparency and accountability of all emergency actions taken by the Federal Reserve since December 1, 2007.

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