Bank Bill Passes, Yet Skepticism Still Remains

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A sweeping crackdown on Wall Street cleared the Senate Thursday, and is on its way to the president for his signature.

Democrats were all smiles as they celebrated the 60-38 vote in favor of the bill.

"We put a new cop on the beat to help protect consumers," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said. "Consumers need to know that somebody is looking out for them."

President Obama pushed hard for the 2,300-page reform bill designed to check the power of big banks and protect taxpayers from more bailouts.

"These reforms making their way through Congress will hold Wall Street accountable, so we can help prevent another financial crisis like the one we're still recovering from," he explained.

CBN News spoke with Phil Kerpen, policy vice president of Americans for Prosperity, about the debate over the new bank bill.  Click play for his comments on the legislation and what it could mean for Americans.

The bill is named for its primary author Sen. Chris Dodd.

"I regret it can't give you your job back, restore that foreclosed home, put retirement money back in your account," Dodd said. "But what I can do is see to it that we never ever again have to go through what this nation's been through."

Still, opponents warn the law doesn't go to the root of what caused the recent financial crisis. They argue instead that consumers will feel the effect of more government meddling.

"I want you to just understand how wide-ranging this bill is. This is going to get into everybody's pockets." Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., said. "And I'm not talking about businesses. I'm talking about individuals."

Critics also complain that the law does nothing to reform the government mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which some say helped cause the financial meltdown.

"We risk moving this country away from a government of the people to a government of regulators," Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned.

Polls show Americans are not enthused about the new law.

Among other things, the legislation will:

  • Gives the government new powers to break up teetering companies that could threaten the economy.
  • Creates a new agency to protect consumers in their financial transactions.
  • Shines a light into shadowy financial markets that have escaped the oversight of regulators

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

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