Last week, a bipartisan group of senators were hastily pushing a bill that could significantly weaken efforts to keep Wall Street’s greed from causing another financial crash.
Dubbed the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act (S. 3468), the bill would create new ways for Wall Street cronies to obstruct independent agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and require those agencies to add onerous layers of analysis before taking action against corporate recklessness.
In a New York Times article about the bill, Public Citizen’s expert on regulatory policy said, “Those who support preserving the status quo where Wall Street regulates itself will find much to like in this legislation.”
A better name for the bill would be the Independent Agency Regulatory PARALYSIS Act (PDF).
Perhaps the bill’s sponsors — including Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) — presumed the technical nature of the bill’s approach to deregulation would allow it to slip unnoticed through the legislative process.
If that’s what they thought, they were very, very wrong.
After being informed on Monday of this awful bill and its alarming implications, Public Citizen activists across the country picked up their telephones and urged their senators to oppose the bill.
Two days later, news spread quickly that the expected vote on S. 3468 had been delayed at least until mid-November — and possibly indefinitely.
Clearly the senators backing this bill had second thoughts about weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other independent financial regulators (and doing a huge favor for Wall Street lobbyists) so close before an election.
And what if Congress tries again after the elections to use the legislative process to push this and other pieces of legislation that sell out the American public while currying favor with corporate lobbyists?
We’ll be watching. And we’ll be ready to fight again.
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