Pelosi: Wall Street Reform Bill Will Protect Main Street From the Worst of Wall Street

Dec 11, 2009
Press Release

Contact: Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, other Members of Congress and an American in support of financial regulatory reform, Susan Chapman of New York, held a press conference this afternoon at the Capitol following the House vote on the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill passed by a vote of 223 to 202. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks and closing statement:

Speaker Pelosi Opening Remarks:

"Good afternoon to all of you. This is really a very important day for our country. Because of the leadership of the people you see gathered here, we are sending a clear message to Wall Street: the party is over. Never again will reckless behavior on the part of the few threaten fiscal stability of our people.

"In the early 1930s, Wall Street financiers strongly opposed the Roosevelt Administration's financial market reforms. One House Member decried the "˜psychology of fear' generated by the financial industry through its relentless opposition campaign. Does that sound familiar?

"Despite these things, scare tactics, we now know that the Roosevelt Administration's market reforms rescued our families from the grips of the Great Depression and served our country well in the long term.

"Americans trusted our markets enough to entrust their financial futures to them. But over the last decade, the lessons of history went largely ignored. Unchecked greed, an insatiable appetite for excessive risk and profit, and the absence of accountability nearly destroyed our financial system and our economy. And that is no exaggeration.

"Today, despite industry scare tactics, once again similar to those from the 1930s, the House of Representatives has acted to leave the age of dishonesty, recklessness, and irresponsibility behind. This is the next critical step forward in an effort to rebuild our economy.

"The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will end the era of taxpayer bailouts, create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency - the first institution dedicated solely to protecting the financial security of all Americans, fill a regulatory hole to improve oversight of hedge funds, private equity funds, and credit rating agencies, place bank CEOs and executives on notice that they should not expect huge bonuses when they jeopardize banks' safety and soundness, bring light to one of the darkest markets on Wall Street: the over-the-counter derivatives market that, in the case of AIG, almost brought down our financial system.

"The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will restore tough enforcement and strong oversight to Wall Street and the big banks - after a decade of Washington looking the other way - and inject transparency and accountability into a financial system. This legislation will finally protect Main Street from the worst of Wall Street.

"All people in the country want to know why Main Street was so severely affected by Wall Street and want to now make sure it doesn't happen again. For all these issues and many more, we are deeply indebted to the extraordinary leadership of Chairman Barney Frank."

Speaker Pelosi Closing Statement:

"Thank you very much Mel [Watt]. As you can see, many people were a part of making this historic day possible - a great day for the American consumer and a great day for the taxpayer. The presentation that the gentlemen made at our Caucus - the three chairmen, Chairman Peterson, Chairman Waxman, and Chairman Frank - were greatly expanded by - what nine? - subcommittee chairs and leaders on the Financial Services Committee coming forth to make their presentations. It was a very collaborative effort and a bill with much complexity. But it simply comes down to this: no longer will Sue Chapman have to be concerned about what is happening at home for her. Susan Chapman was generous in sharing her personal experience with us. And as Mr. Hoyer said: she represents millions of families in America who are similarly affected.

"I see this day also is a culmination of a great deal of activity that began about one year ago as we prepared for a new Congress and a new President. In order to stop the collapse of our financial system and take our economy away from the brink of further disaster, we passed our Recovery Act in record time at the President's request. Much legislation about women and children - Lilly Ledbetter, ending discrimination in the workplace; SCHIP, insuring 11 million children a year of America - historic legislation about preserving parklands in our country, millions of acres - to Edward M. Kennedy Volunteerism Act in Congress. And that took us to the 100 days of the President's presidency and on that day the House and the Senate both joined together to pass his budget.

A budget that is blueprint for the future, a statement of our national values, that would grow our economy, create jobs, reduce the deficit, lower taxes for the middle-class, and grow jobs around three principles: investments in education, health care, and energy. And the House has passed those three pillars already and we go forward to join the Senate in sending that legislation - those pieces of legislation to the President's desk.

"So, I'm sure my colleagues would like to take any questions you may have. Any questions on this important legislation?"