This vote was on bringing debate to a close on a bill that aims to close gaps in financial regulations, strengthen oversight of consumer lending and more closely oversee complex financial investments. The bill would create new regulatory bodies to assess the risk posed by very large financial institutions and also would help break up very large firms that are failing. Consumer financial products would be overseen by a new agency the bill would create. It also would bring stiff oversight, for the first time, to complex financial instruments of the sort that has been partly blamed for the financial meltdown.
Republicans had threatened to hold up the bill’s consideration indefinitely with a filibuster, causing Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., to file what is known as a “cloture motion,” which, in essence, is a vote on bringing debate on a bill or amendment to a close, which is what this vote was on. If the Senate votes to “invoke cloture” – or bring debate to a close – then lawmakers must either hold a vote on the legislation, amendment or motion in question, or move on to other business. This type of motion is most often called on contentious legislation where the leadership is concerned that consideration could be held up indefinitely by a handful of senators.
Ben Cardin, D-Md., said the bill puts into place the sort of oversight that should have been in place prior to the financial meltdown.
“This bill corrects a regulatory structure that today allows reckless gambling on Wall Street; that creates too big to fail, where government bailouts are necessary to keep companies afloat because there are no other options available to our regulators,” Cardin said. “It provides for strong consumer protection—protection for many forms of lending but, most importantly, the residential mortgage market. We saw in this financial crisis that even responsible consumers suffered at the hands of aggressive lenders with dubious intentions. This legislation will create a consumer bureau that will end those types of practices, that will be on the side of the consumer, that is independent, so the consumer is represented in the financial structure.”
Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said the new consumer protection bureau the bill would create is an affirmation that “government failures were a significant cause of our economic turmoil.”
“But they still believe bigger government is the solution going forward, and despite failure after failure among various regulatory agencies, a new agency is the answer to these shortcomings, and this time it is going to be different,” Chambliss said. “Instead of addressing the problems of the consumer protections in place under our current regulatory structure, this new oversight agency is an added layer of bureaucracy with the authority to examine and enforce new regulations for not only all mortgage-related businesses, but also small mom-and-pop businesses on Main Street such as payday lenders, check cashers, and other nonfinancial firms. These types of entities were clearly not the cause of the economic crisis, yet they will now be subject to the same regulations as the large financial institutions on Wall Street. This is simply another example of the majority party’s preference for a one-size-fits-all regulatory structure, stifling economic growth.”
By a vote of 60-38, the Senate voted to bring debate to a close. All but one Democrat present voted to bring debate to a close. All but three Republicans voted against bringing debate to a close. The end result is that debate was brought to a close on a bill that would overhaul regulation of the financial services industry.