Senate Session - April 28, 2010
Speakers:
Time
Action
  • 09:31:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG. I PLEDGE…

    PLEASE JOIN ME IN RECITING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG. I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

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  • 09:31:46 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL READ A COMMUNICATION TO THE SENATE.

  • 09:31:51 AM

    THE CLERK

    D.C., APRIL 28, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1,…

    D.C., APRIL 28, 2010. TO THE SENATE: UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 1, PARAGRAPH 3, OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, I HEREBY APPOINT THE HONORABLE TOM S. UDALL, A SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO, TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CHAIR. SIGNED: ROBERT C. BYRD, PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE.

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  • 09:32:09 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:32:13 AM

    MR. REID

    BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR 90 MINUTES WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO…

    BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR 90 MINUTES WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH. THE FIRST 30 MINUTES WILL BE UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE MAJORITY. THE NEXT MINUTES AND THE REMAINING TIME WILL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED. FOLLOWING MORNING BUSINESS, THE SENATE WILL RESUME THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO TO THE WALL STREET REFORM LEGISLATION WITH THE TIME UNTIL 12:20 EQUALLY DIVIDED. AT 12:20. SENATE WILL PROCEED TO A VOTE TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED ON THE WALL STREET REFORM. I WANT TO SAY A FEW WORDS THIS MORNING ABOUT ONE OF THE SENATE'S MOST SENIOR MEMBERS, ONE OF THE NEWEST ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE. I HAVE KNOWN SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. I'VE WORKED WITH HIM, LEARNED FROM HIM AND ADMIRED HIM. TRULY A LEGAL SCHOLAR. ANYONE WHO HAS READ HIS BOOKS -- AND I HAVE -- KNOW THAT SENATOR SPECTER'S LIFE HAS BEEN A STRUGGLE. FROM HIS DAYS AS A SON OF IMMIGRANTS IN DEPRESSION-ERA KANSAS TO HIS TREATMENT FOR HODGKIN'S LYMPHOMA HAS ENDURED WHILE WORKING AS A FULL-TIME UNITED STATES SENATOR. HE HAS NOT HAD IT EASY BUT HE FOUGHT HARD. I CONSIDER IT A PRIVILEGE TO WORK WITH ARLEN SPECTER. HE'S A STRONG CONTRIBUTOR TO OUR CAUCUS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY A FINE PUBLIC SERVANT FOR THE PEOPLE OF PENNSYLVANIA. IT WOULDN'T SURPRISE ANYONE TO LEARN THAT OVER 25 YEARS SENATOR SPECTER HAVE NOT ALWAYS AGREED ON EVERY ISSUE, BUT I'VE NEVER SEEN ANOTHER SENATOR WITH A GREATER WILLINGNESS TO WORK IN A BIPARTISAN MANNER, PUT PEOPLE OVER PARTY AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SEARCH THEIR HEARTS AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT. SENATOR SPECTER HAS FOUGHT TO END THE PARTISANSHIP IN WASHINGTON JUST AS HARD AS HE FOUGHT FOR HIS CONSTITUENTS IN PENNSYLVANIA. HE'S OFTEN REMINDED AT SOME KEY TIMES, INCLUDING FROM RIGHT HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR, THAT WE HAD TO GO A DIRECTION THAT HE THOUGHT WAS IMPORTANT, AND HE WOULD TELL US ABOUT THAT. WE WERE SENT HERE TO GOVERN, NOT TO DEMAGOGUE. HE'S WARNED HIS FORMER COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE NOT TO LET A STRATEGY OF OBSTRUCTING OBSCURE THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO GOVERN. IT IS A MESSAGE WITH PARTICULAR RELEVANCE THAT SHOULD BE ENFORCED THIS WEEK. WITHOUT SENATOR SPECTER'S COURAGE TO REACH ACROSS THE AISLE WE WOULDN'T HAVE PASSED THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN. IT IS PULLING OUR NATION OUT OF RECESSION AND PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK. ARLEN SPECTER DIDN'T VOTE FOR IT FOR POLITICAL REASONS. HE SUPPORTED IT BECAUSE HE SAW WHAT THE GREAT DEPRESSION DID TO HIS FAMILY. IT FORCED THE SPECTERS TO MOVE FROM THEIR HOME IN WICHITA TO HIS AUNT'S HOME IN PHILADELPHIA. HE DIDN'T WANT TO SEE IT SLIP-UP AGAIN AND FALL INTO A DEPRESSION. SENATOR SPECTER THEN CAME OVER TO OUR SIDE OF THE AISLE AND HELPED PASS THE HEALTH REFORM LAW THAT WILL HELP AMERICANS LIFE HEALTHIER LIVES. IN THE ANGER OF THE TOWN HALL MEETINGS LAST SUMMER, SENATOR SPECTER FOUND HIMSELF ON THE FRONT LINES. HE DIDN'T GIVE IN TO THE MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION. HE NEVER LOST HIS COOL. AS A SENIOR MEMBER AND FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, SENATOR SPECTER PLAYED A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE HISTORIC CONFIRMATION OF JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR. I KNOW HE'LL DO A EQUAL JOB WHEN WE REPLACE JUSTICE STEVENS. I WANT TO THANK HIM FOR ALL THAT HE DOES BOTH PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, OF COURSE, IS HOME TO SOME OF OUR NATION'S MOST SIGNIFICANT POLITICAL HISTORY: THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THE CONSTITUTION WAS DRAFTED IN PHILADELPHIA. HE RECORDED SOME HISTORY OF HIS OWN. NO PENNSYLVANIAN HAS SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE LONGER THAN HE HAS. HIS MODERATE VOICE HAS BEEN AN ASSET TOWARDS A DIVERSE CALKS AND I LOOK FORWARD TO WORK CURBS DIVERSE CAUCUS AND I LOOK FORD TO WORKING WITH HIM FOR MANY YEARS TO COME. I CAN REMEMBER AS A BOY WE MOVED FROM SEARCHLIGHT AEUPBD THEN GOT A JOB IN HENDERSON WHERE I WAS GOING TO HIGH SCHOOL. WE RENTED A HOME THERE, AND WE HAD A TV SET, OUR FIRST TV CEMENT I -- TV SET. I CAN REMEMBER WAY BACK THEN MY MOTHER WATCHING A SHOW CALLED "AS THE WORLD TURNS." IT WAS A SOAP OPERA. I NEVER WATCHED IT ON PURPOSE; PASSING BY, I GUESS. SHE WATCHED THAT WHENEVER SHE COULD, ANY TIME SHE HAD A TV SET. MY WIFE AS A YOUNG WOMAN, YOUNG MOTHER, TO GET AWAY FROM THE CHORES OF TAKING CARE OF THOSE CHILDREN OF OURS WOULD WATCH "AS THE WORLD TURNS." THIS SOAP OPERA WENT FROM MY MOTHER TO MY WIFE. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT SHOW IS STILL GOING ON -- "AS THE WORLD TURNS." THIS SOAP OPERA IS NEVER GOING TO END, I GUESS. AND I WANT EVERYONE HERE IN THE SENATE TO KNOW THAT THE NEGOTIATIONS WE HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT ARE NEVER GOING TO END. WE'VE GOT TO GET ON THIS BILL. MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SHOULD UNDERSTAND WE HAVE NEGOTIATED IN GOOD FAITH AND WE HAVE TRIED, AND WE'VE GOT TO GET TO THIS BILL. NEGOTIATIONS ARE LIKE "THE WORLD TURNS." THE SOAP OPERA. THEY'RE NEVER GOING TO END UNTIL WE GET ON THIS BILL. I WOULD SAY TO MY FRIENDS LET'S GET ON THIS BILL BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE HAVING VOTES ON THIS MATTER AS LONG AS IT TAKES. I'M HAPPY WHEN WE GET ON THE BILL. I'VE TOLD EVERYBODY ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY, AS WE HAVE 90% OF THE THINGS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THIS FLOOR. 90% OF THE THINGS BROUGHT TO THIS FLOOR, WE'VE HAD OPEN DEBATE. WE'VE HAD THE MOST OPEN DEBATE IN MANY CONGRESSES, AND I'M HAPPY ABOUT THAT. AND THIS ISSUE THAT'S NOW BEFORE US IS GOING TO BE ONE WHERE WE CAN AMEND, OFFER AMENDMENTS AND HAVE DEBATES AND MOVE FORWARD. AND MY FRIENDS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE WANT TO OFFER AMENDMENTS. THEY'VE TOLD ME THAT. AND THAT'S WHAT WE'LL DO. WE CAN'T DO THAT UNTIL WE GET ON THE BILL. AND I SAY TO MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE AGAIN, LET'S STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS NEGOTIATION. IT'S GOING NOWHERE. WE STARTED OFF MONTHS OF NEGOTIATION WITH SPECTER -- I'M SORRY. WITH THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MEMBER, SENATOR SHELBY, UNTIL THEY BROKE OFF. AND THEN THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE THOUGHT HE WOULD HAVE HIS TRY AT IT. HE TRIED; THAT FAILED. AND WE WENT BEFORE THE COMMITTEE. THERE WERE A LOT OF AMENDMENTS FILED BY THE REPUBLICANS. THEY DIDN'T OFFER A SINGLE AMENDMENT BEFORE THE COMMITTEE. THAT'S WHAT WAS REPORTED TO THE FLOOR. MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED TO MOVE ON. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS HAVE HELD MONTHS OF BIPARTISAN MEETINGS, NEGOTIATIONS AND CONSENSUS. BUT THE TIME HAS COME TO MOVE THIS CONVERSATION FROM THE SIDELINES TO THE PLAYING FIELD. IT'S TIME THIS DEBATE HAPPEN ON THE SENATE FLOOR WHERE IT BELONGS. THEY THINK ALL THE NEGOTIATIONS, I GUESS, SHOULD HAPPEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. THEY WANT ALL THE DISAGREEMENTS END BEFORE THE DISCUSSION BEGINS. I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED IN ONE OF MY FRIENDS. I HEARD HER ON THE RADIO THIS MORNING SAYING, WELL, THIS IS A COMPLICATED BILL. WE'VE GOT TO GET IT WORKED OUT BEFORE WE'RE GOING TO ALLOW THIS BILL TO GO TO THE FLOOR. NOW THAT IS ABOUT, I SAY WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, NOT VERY -- DOESN'T MAKE MUCH SENSE, MR. PRESIDENT. THEY WANT EVERYTHING WORKED OUT BEFORE WE GET TO THE FLOOR? IS THAT THE NEW STANDARD? THEY WANT ALL THE DISAGREEMENTS TO END BEFORE THE DISCUSSION BEGINS? I WONDER WHAT THEY THINK THE PURPOSE OF DEBATE IS AND WHY WE HAVE THE AMENDMENT PROCESS. NEGOTIATIONS AREN'T MOVING FORWARD, MR. PRESIDENT. IT'S "AS THE WORLD TURNS," THE SOAP OPERA NEVER ENDS. WELL, THIS IS GOING TO END. WE'VE GOT TO CONTINUE ON THIS LEGISLATION. THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS INSIST THAT WE WORK THIS OUT IN BACK ROOMS IS A STALLING TACTIC. EVERY DAY THEY STALL IS A DAY THEY SAY TO WALL STREET, "KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK." MR. PRESIDENT, I'VE LEARNED A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS DEBATE AS WE'VE MOVED ON. I'VE LEARNED, HAVING BEEN IN THE PAST CHAIRMAN OF THE NEVADA GAMING COMMISSION, WHICH IS THE GAMBLING COMMISSIONER. WE TRY TO MAKE THOSE GAMES FAIR SO THAT PEOPLE WHO CAME TO GAMBLE -- AND, MR. PRESIDENT, THEY GAMBLED WITH THEIR OWN MONEY. IF THEY LOST THAT MONEY, THEY LOST IT FAIR AND SQUARE. BUT ONE THING THEY LOST WAS THEIR OWN MONEY. THE DEAL ON WALL STREET IS A REALLY INTERESTING GAMBLE. THEY USE OUR MONEY, AND THEY KEEP ALL THE PROFITS. AND IF THEY LOSE, THEY COME TO US FOR HELP. IT'S BEEN NORTHERN TWO YEARS SINCE THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE, MONTHS SINCE THESE NEGOTIATIONS STARTED. IT'S TIME TO MOVE FORWARD ON THIS NEGOTIATION. WHAT ARE MY FRIENDS AFRAID OF? THIS IS THE UNITED STATES SENATE. WE'RE SUPPOSED TO LEGISLATE. NEGOTIATE, THERE COMES A TIME WHEN WE HAVE TO LEGISLATE. THAT TIME HAS ARRIVED. MR.

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  • 09:41:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE REPUBLICAN LEADER IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 09:41:54 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY I CAME TO THE FLOOR AND NOTED THAT AN INCREASING…

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY I CAME TO THE FLOOR AND NOTED THAT AN INCREASING NUMBER OF BUSINESSES LARGE AND SMALL HAVE BEEN WEIGHING IN ON THE FINANCIAL REGULATORY BILL. AND WHAT WE'VE SEEN FROM THESE GROUPS IS A GROWING CONCERN ABOUT THE ADVERSE EFFECT THIS BILL COULD HAVE ON THEIR BUSINESSES. EVERYONE FROM CANDY BAR COMPANIES TO MOTORCYCLE MAKERS, IT SEEMS, IS NOW WORRIED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THIS BILL. SO THIS HAS BEEN A VERY USEFUL EXERCISE BY GIVING PEOPLE TIME TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT THIS BILL AND STUDY THE DETAILS FOR THEMSELVES. WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO ASSESS NOT ONLY THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE ACTUAL TEXT OF THE BILL ITSELF, BUT ALSO SOME OF THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES IT COULD HAVE. AS WE KNOW, THIS IS SOMETHING AMERICANS WERE DENIED IN THE LEADUP TO THE VOTE ON THE STIMULUS BILL. DEMOCRATS INSISTED WE VOTE ON THAT BILL ABOUT 18 HOURS AFTER WE GOT THE TEXT, AND WE'VE SEEN HOW THAT TURNED OUT. THIS IS SOMETHING AMERICANS WERE DENIED AGAIN ON THE HEALTH SPENDING BILL, WHICH IS BASICALLY WRITTEN BY A FEW GUYS IN A ROOM AND THEN JAMMED THROUGH THE SENATE DURING A BLIZZARD ON CHRISTMAS EVE. WE'VE SEEN HOW THAT TURNED OUT, A BILL SOLD ON THE PROMISE OF LOWER COSTS AND LOWER PREMIUMS IS NOW EXPECTED TO LEAD TO HIGHER COSTS AND HIGHER PREMIUMS. THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED ON THE HEALTH CARE BILL. SO THIS TIME PEOPLE HAVE ACTUALLY HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK AT ONE OF THESE MASSIVE DEMOCRATIC BILLS FOR A CHANGE. AND WHAT'S PERFECTLY CLEAR TO MOST OF THEM, THIS BILL NEEDS SOME WORK, WHICH IS PRECISELY WHAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS. LET'S START WITH THE BASICS. THE FIRST THING WE HAD TO ENSURE WITH THIS BILL IS IT DIDN'T LEAVE TAXPAYERS ON THE LOOK FOR ANY MORE WALL STREET BAILOUTS. AND THAT'S THE FIRST THING SOME OF US ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE NOTICED: THE LOOPHOLES. SO I RAISED THE ALARM ON THAT ISSUE, AND THE TWO PARTIES HAVE BEEN LOOKING INTO IT. BUT THERE ARE OTHER PROBLEMS. IN PARTICULAR, THERE IS GROWING CONCERN THAT IN AN EFFORT TO HOLD WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE, THIS BILL COULD CATCH THE LITTLE GUYS UP IN THE SAME NET AS THE BIG BANKS. AND THIS IS NOW A MAJOR CONCERN FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE, A CONCERN WE NEED TO ADDRESS HEAD ON. FOR INSTANCE, WHETHER THE AUTHORS OF THIS BILL INTENDED IT OR NOT, THERE IS A REAL CONCERN THAT THIS BILL COULD PENALIZE ANYONE IN THIS COUNTRY WHO BUYS OR SELLS SOMETHING ON AN INSTALLMENT PLAN AS A RESULT OF SOME LANGUAGE IN SECTION 1027. AS "THE NEW YORK TIMES" PUT IT THIS MORNING -- AND HERE I'M QUOTING THE "TIMES" -- THIS BILL GIVES BROAD POWERS TO A CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY TO REGULATE ALMOST ANY BUSINESS THAT EXTENDS CREDIT, MEANING THAT COMPANIES LIKE CAR DEALERS AND PROFESSIONALS LIKE ORTHODONTISTS WHO ALLOW CUSTOMERS TO PAY OVER TIME COULD BE SUBJECT TO A NEW REGULATORY AND SUPERVISORY REGIME." DOES THIS MEAN THAT SOME GRADUATE STUDENT IN LOUISVILLE LOOKING TO BUY AN ENGAGEMENT RING WOULD NOW BE REQUIRED TO PAY A HIGHER INTEREST RATE OR THAT THE JEWELER WOULDN'T DO THE DEAL BECAUSE THIS BILL WOULD CREATE NEW OVERSIGHT OVER ANY NONFINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT LEND MONEY TO CONSUMERS? WHAT ABOUT THE PARENT TRYING TO SPREAD OUT PAYMENTS FOR THEIR CHILD'S BRACES? WILL THEY NOW HAVE TO PAY FOR IT ALL UP FRONT? WILL THE ORTHODONTIST BE WILLING TO SHOW HIS OR HER PRACTICE TO FEDERAL SUPERVISION? I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THESE QUESTIONS BUT I'D LIKE TO HAVE A GOOD ANSWER IF ONE OF SUNLIGHTS ASKED ME ABOUT T RIGHT NOW I DON'T. NO ONE CAN DENY THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THIS BILL IS AMBIGUOUS. THAT IT LENDS ITSELF TO BROAD INTERPRETATION, SO LET'S TIGHTEN IT UP. AND WHY SHOULDN'T WE? WHY SHOULDN'T WE TIGHTEN UP THE LANGUAGE TO MAKE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR EXACTLY WHAT THIS BILL MEANS AND WHAT IT DOESN'T MEAN? THE LAST THING WE WANT IS FOR THE LITTLE GUY TO GET HURT BAY PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT'S INTENDED TO REIN IN BANKERS ON WALL STREET. BUT THAT'S PRECISELY WHY WE'VE GOTTEN SO MANY LETTERS OF OPPOSITION TO THIS BILL OVER THE LAST SO MANY DAYS FROM GROUPS LIKE THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM, AND THE NATIONAL TAXPAYER UNION. THAT'S ALSO WHY WE'VE GOTTEN SO MANY LETTERS EXPRESSING SERIOUS CONCERNS FROM GROUPS LIKE THE U.S. AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, THE MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF FARMER COOPERATIVES, THE FARM CREDIT COUNCIL, THE AMERICAN COUNCIL OF LIFE INSURERS, AND THE HOUSING POLICY COUNCIL, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOMEBUILDERS, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS, AND THE FERTILIZER INSTITUTE. THE LIST GOES ON. IN FACT, THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO BE WILLING TO COME OUT IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL ARE THE EXECUTIVES AT GOLDMAN SACHS. THE BIGGEST BANKERS AT THE BIGGEST WALL STREET FIRM OF ALL. THE C.E.O. OF GOLDMAN SACHS WAS HERE ON THE HILL YESTERDAY DISCUSSING HIS FIRM'S ROLE IN THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND THE POINT HE MADE ABOUT THIS BILL IS THAT HE AGREES WITH THE PRESIDENT WHO SAID LAST WEEK THAT THE BIGGEST BENEFICIARIES OF THIS BILL ARE ON WALL STREET. SO, THE SUPPORTERS OF THIS BILL MAY HAVE LOCKED UP THE SUPPORT OF THE FOLKS AT GOLDMAN SACHS, GOALTDMANSOLDMANGOLD NONSACKS IS BEHIND THIS BILL BUT THE -- AND NOT BEFORE THERE IS AN IRONCLAD PROTECTION OF WALL STREET FIRMS LIKE HIS. AMERICANS WANT KNOW THAT THIS BILL WILL PROTECT THEM, TOO. AND RIGHT NOW THEY'VE GOT MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS. I ALREADY MENTIONED CONCERNS ABOUT SECTION 1027. HOW ABOUT SECTION 1022? IT RELATES TO GOVERNMENT COLLECTION OF INFORMATION THROUGH A NEW BUREAU OF CONSUMER PROTECTION. HERE'S WHAT THAT SECTION OF THE BILL SAYS. QUOTE -- "IN CONDUCTING RESEARCH ON THE OFFERING AND PROVISION OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, THE BUREAU SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO GATHER INFORMATION FROM TIME TO TIME REGARDING THE ORGANIZATION, BUSINESS CONDUCT, MARKETS, AND ACTIVITIES OF PERSONS OPERATING OPERATING IN CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES MARKETS." IT CONTINUES, "IN ORDER TO GATHER SUCH INFORMATION, THE BUREAU MAY MAKE PUBLIC SUCH INFORMATION OBTAINED BY THE BUREAU UNDER THIS SECTION, AS IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN REPORTS OR OTHERWISE IN THE MANNER BEST SUITED FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION AND USE." I GOT A QUESTION. DOES HAVE A CREDIT CARD MAKE YOU A PERSON OPERATING IN CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICE MARKETS? WHAT IF YOU SELL SOMETHING ON EBAY AND SOMEONE PAYS WITH YOU THEIR CREDIT CARD THROUGH PAYPAL? DOES THAT MAKE YOU SOMEONE OPERATING IN CONSUMER FINANCIAL -- IN THE CONSUMER SERVICE -- IN THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICE MARKET? DOES THAT MAKE YOU OPERATING IN THAT MARKET? I'M SURE IT'S NOT THE INTENT OF THE CHAIRMAN TO GIVE THE GOVERNMENT INFORMATION ON KENTUCKY KENYANS WHO USE PAYPAL? BUT IN WHY NOT MAKE IT CLEAR? THESE ARE QUESTIONS PEOPLE ARE ASKING ONCE THEY HAVE REAL ESTATE HAD A CHANCE TO LACT THIS BILL. I'M TALKING NOW ABOUT THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. PLENTY OF OTHER GROUPS HAVE POINTED OUT SOME OF THE REAL ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS BILL ON MEME HAD ABSOLUTELY -- ON PEOPLE WHO HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. FOR INSTANCE, I'VE HEARD FROM A NUMBER OF UTILITIES IN KENTUCKY THAT USE TRADITIONAL DERIVATIVES AS A WAY OF KEEPING PRICES LOW FOR THEMSELVES AND BY EXTENSION FOR HOMEOWNERS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ACROSS MY STATE. GENERAL ELECTRIC EMPLOYS MORE THAN 5,000 PEOPLE IN KENTUCKY, SO I WANT TO HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS BILL. AND WHAT THEY'RE TELLING SMEE THAT THIS BILL -- AND WHAT THEY'RE TELLING ME IS THAT THIS BILL COULD REALLY HURT THEM. THEY'RE CONCERNED THAT THIS BILL COULD HURT THE COST OF MANAGING FOREIGN EXCHANGE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR VAST GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN. AND THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT INCREASING HEDGING COSTS RELATED TO THE FINANCING THEY PROVIDE THE SUPPLIERS AND RETAIL CUSTOMERS WHO BUY G.E. APPLIANCES LIKE WASHERS AND DRYERS AND WATER HERETOS THAT ARE MADE IN LOUISVILLE. LOOK, HOMEOWNERS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN KENTUCKY DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. I'M SURE NONE OF OF THE KENTUCKIANS WHO LOOK AT G.E. HAD ANYTHING TWOD IT EITHER. BUT BECAUSE THIS BILL DOESN'T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN UTILITIES WHO USE DERIVATIVES FOR A GENERAL USE AND THOSE WHO ABUSE THEM, RATEPAYERS IN MY STATE WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY GET HIT BY THIS BILL. THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE CONCERNS PEOPLE ARE RAISING ABOUT THIS MARIJUANA. -- ABOUT THIS MEASURE. THE FACT IS THESE CONCERNS ARE ONLY MAGNIFIED BY THE RECENT PERFORMANCE OF THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY. I'M AFRAID THOSE WHO CLAIM THAT THIS BILL WOULDN'T DO ANY OF THE THINGS PEOPLE ARE FRAID OF NOW HAVE A HIGHER HURD TOLL CROSS AFTER THE ASSURANCES THEY GAVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ON THE STIMULUS, THE DEBT, AND HEALTH CARE. A LOT OF PEOPLE TOOK DEMOCRATS AT THEIR WORD AND THEY GOT BURNED. NOW THEY WANT MORE THAN A VERBAL ASSURANCE IN THIS BILL DOESN'T ALLOW BAILOUT. THEY WANT PROOF. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY REALLY THINKS THE FERTILIZER INSTITUTE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. AND I DON'T THINK THE AUTHORS OF THIS BILL THINK KENTUCKY FARMERS ARE TO BLAME FOR THE COLLAPSE OF LEHMAN BROTHERS. BUT WHETHER THEY INTENDED TO OR NOT THIS BILL WOULD PUNISH THEM AND THAT'S SIMPLY NOT RIEVMENT RIGHT. SO AMERICANS WANT A NUMBER OF THINGS IN THIS BILL FIXED, AND THEY WANT MORE THAN VERBAL ASSURANCES. AT THIS POINT, AMERICANS WANT THE SUPPORTERS OF THIS BILL TO PUT A HIGHLIGHTERS THROUGH THE RELATIVE PASSAGES AND THEN TAB THE PAGES. AMERICANS EXPECT US TO PROVE WE'RE DOING WHAT THEY SAY WE'RE DOING. AND AFTER THE PAST FUGATES, I DON'T BLAME THEM -- AND AFTER THE PAST FEW DEBATES, I DON'T BLAME THEM ONE BIT. NONE OF THIS SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A BURDEN. ISN'T THAT HOW THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS IS SUPPOSED TO WORK? MAJOR LEGISLATION IS PROPOSED, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GET TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT, THEY LET US KNOW HOW IT WOULD AFFECT THEM, AND THEN WE WEIGH THOSE CONCERNS AGAINST THE VARIOUS PROBLEMS AT HAND. THE AUTHORS OF THIS BILL MAY BELIEVE SOME OF THOSE CONCERNS ARE MISPLACED, BUT THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PROVE T MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 09:53:23 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE LEADERSHIP TIME IS RESERVED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THERE WILL BE A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS FOR 90 MINUTES WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 10 MINUTES EACH, AND WITH THE TIME EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WITH THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING FIRST 30 MINUTES AND THE MAJORITY CONTROLLING THE NEXT 30 MINUTES. THE SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 09:53:47 AM

    MR. ALEXANDER

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE REPUBLICAN LEADER ON HIS…

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE REPUBLICAN LEADER ON HIS REMARKS AND LISTENING TO HIM, I WAS WONDERING HOW KENTUCKIANS WOULD RESPOND TO THE THOUGHT THAT WE SEEM TO BE HEARING NOW IN THIS SO-CALLED CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY. WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON AND WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU?

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  • 09:54:07 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    TO MY FRIEND FROM TENNESSEE, NOW THAT WE'RE GET AGO CHANCE TO -- GETTING A…

    TO MY FRIEND FROM TENNESSEE, NOW THAT WE'RE GET AGO CHANCE TO -- GETTING A CHANCE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THIS BILL, IT IS CLEAR IT HAS A BROAD REACH. IT WOULD TOUCH A WHOLE LOT OF MEME HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HAPPENED ON WALL STREET AND I THINK IT IS NOTEWORTHY THAT THE MOST CONSPICUOUS SUPPORTER OF THIS BILL IS THE CHAIRMAN OF GOLDMAN SACHS.

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  • 09:54:37 AM

    MR. ALEXANDER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER -- REPUBLICAN LEADER -- EXCUSE MOO, FREUDIAN SLIPE --…

    THE MAJORITY LEADER -- REPUBLICAN LEADER -- EXCUSE MOO, FREUDIAN SLIPE -- I WONDER IF THE REPUBLICAN LEADER WOULD AGREE WITH ME THAT IT'S NOTEWORTHY THAT THE LEGISLATION WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FOCUSES ON SHOP OWNERS, AUTO DEALERS, REAL ESTATE AGENTS, FARMERS, COMMUNITY BANKERS, DOCTORS, DENTIST WHOSE HAVE VIRTUALLY NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS GREAT RECESSION WE'RE IN BUT COMPLETELY LEAVES OUT THE TWO GIANT FEDERAL HOUSING AGENCIES CALLED FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC WHO HAD ALMOST EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE RECESSION THAT WE'RE IN?

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  • 09:55:20 AM

    MR. McCONNELL

    TO MY FRIEND FROM TENNESSEE, MANY, IF NOT MOST ALL, EXPERTS FELT THAT THE…

    TO MY FRIEND FROM TENNESSEE, MANY, IF NOT MOST ALL, EXPERTS FELT THAT THE CRISIS REALLY BEGAN THROUGH FANNIE AND FREDDIE. AND AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, THEY ARE NOT ADDRESSED HAD THIS MEASURE AT ALL.

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  • 09:55:33 AM

    MR. ALEXANDER

    I THANK THE REPUBLICAN LEADER. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON AND…

    I THANK THE REPUBLICAN LEADER. MR. PRESIDENT, WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON AND WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU IS A PROMISE OR AN OFFER THAT IS CREATING A LOT OF SUSPICION AROUND MY STATE OF TENNESSEE, AND I SUSPECT AROUND THE COUNTRY. I'M HEARING FROM A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT. SHOP OWNERS, AUTO DEALERS, REAL ESTATE AGENTS, COMMUNITY BANKERS, RETAILERS, DOCTORS, DENTISTS, TRADERS ON EBAY, THEY'RE AFRAID THAT THE SO-CALLED CONSUMER PROTECTION BILL THAT WE'RE HEARING ABOUT WILL MAKE IT HARDER TO BORROW MONEY, IT WILL TAKE MORE TIME TO BORROW MONEY, IT WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE TO BORROW MONEY, YOU'VE HAVE TO FILL OUT MORE FORMS TO BORROW MONEY, YOU'LL HAVE FEWER CHOICES TO BORROW MONEY, AND IF THE SHOP OWNER, THE COMMUNITY BANKER, THE REAL ESTATE AGENT, THE DOCTOR, THE DENTIST, THE TRADERS ON EBAY CAN'T BORROW MONEY, THEY CAN'T INVEST, WE CAN'T CREATE JOBS, AND WE CAN'T PUT AN END TO THIS RECESSION. SO WE WOULDN'T WANT TO PASS A PIECE OF LEGISLATION HERE, I WOULD NOT THINK, THAT SAYS WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON, WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU, AND THE EFFECT OF IT, TO PEOPLE UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET, IS GOING TO MAKE IT HARDER TO BORROW MONEY, TAKE MORE TIME TO BORROW MONEY, MAKE IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO BORROW MONEY, FILL OUT MORE FORMS TO BORROW MONEY. SOMEONE SAID YESTERDAY -- I THINK IT WAS THE SENATOR FROM NORTH CAROLINA -- THAT IF THE NUMBER OF FORMS YOU HAVE TO FILL OUT TO BUY A HOUSE IS WHAT IT ACHES TO STOP A RECESSION OR TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T HAVE ONE, WE SHOULDN'T BE IN THIS ONE BECAUSE ANYONE WHO'S FILLED OUT A MORTGAGE FORM LATELY KNOWS THAT YOU HAVE TO FILL OUT A STACK THAT HIGH OF CONSUMER PROTECTION FORMS, AND SO JUST ADDING ANOTHER LAYER OF CONSUMER PROTECTION FORMS TO BUYING A HOUSE OR BORROWING MONEY OR BUYING SOMETHING ON CREDIT -- WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH WALL STREET? WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH THIS GREAT RECESSION WE'RE IN? WE NEED TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR COMMUNITY BANKS TO MAKE A LOAN, TO A SMALL BUSINESS WHO CAN HIRE A PERSON, WHO CAN MAKE AN INVESTMENT AND WHO CAN GET THE ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. MOST OF US THOUGHT THIS WALL STREET BILL WAS ABOUT WALL STREET, BUT IT'S TURNING OUT, WE'RE BEING TOLD, TO BE MORE ABOUT MAIN STREET. AND MAIN STREET, THE AUTO DEALER AND THE COMMUNITY BANKER AND THE RETAILER AND THE DENTIST SAYS MAIN STREET SUCCESS. THE A ABOUT WHETHER WE CAN BORROW MONEY -- IT'S ABOUT WHETHER WE CAN BORROW MONEY, GET CREDIT, EXPAND A STORE, OR CREATE A JOB. WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON AND WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU SOUNDS HOLLOW TO A LOT OF AMERICANS. IT SOUNDS LIKE A WASHINGTON TAKEOVER, OR ANOTHER WASHINGTON TAKEOVER TO MEEVMENT ME. WE'VE ALREADY MADE WASHINGTON THE NEW AMERICAN AUTO CAPITAL. WE'VE ALREADY MADE WASHINGTON THE NEW AMERICAN HEALTH CARE CAPITAL. WE'VE ALREADY MADE WASHINGTON THE NEW AMERICAN STUDENT LOAN CAPITAL. AND NOW WE'RE GOING TO MOVE MAIN STREET TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR EVERY LITTLE CREDIT TRANSACTION UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET? WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT THAT. I DON'T THINK IN CHICAGO AND NEW YORK CITY THEY WANT TO MOVE THE GREAT FINANCIAL CENTERS OF THIS COUNTRY TO WASHINGTON, D.C. AND IF WE DO SO WITH SOME OF THE KIND OF RESTRICTIONS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WE MAY MOVE THOSE FINANCIAL CENTERS AND THOSE JOBS TO SINGAPORE, TO SHANK HIERKS TO LONDON -- TO SHANGHAI, TO LONDON, TO OTHER PLACES. BUT MOVING MAIN STREET TO WASHINGTON? WHY IS THIS EVEN IN THE BILL? IF THE BILL IS ABOUT REINING IN WALL STREET, THAT'S A GOOD IDEA. THAT'S A GOOD IDEA. BUT WHY ARE WE GOING UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET REINING IN MAIN STREET WHEN MAIN STREET IS HAVING VERY A VERY HARD TIME THESE DAYS? THE PRESIDENT IS IN IOWA TODAY TALKING ABOUT MAIN STREEVMENT I HOPE HE'S EXPLAINING WHY WE HAVE A PIECE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION THAT SAYS, WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON, WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU, WHEN MOST RELATERS, MOST -- WHEN MOST REALTORS, MOST COMMUNITY BANKS, MOST DENTISTS, MOST TRADERS ON EBAY SAY, LOOK, WAIT A MINUTE. WE'RE NOT SURE WE WANT THAT KIND OF PROTECTION IF WHAT IT MEANS IS IT MAKES IT HARDER TO BORROW MONEY, TAKE MORE TIME TO BORROW MONEY, MAKE IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO BORROW MONEY, TO FILL OUT MORE FORMS TO BORROW MONEY, HAVE FEWER CHOICES TO BORROW MONEY BECAUSE IF IT MEANS ALL THAT, WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO CREATE MORE JOBS. OF COURSE WHAT WE'RE SAYING ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE IS WE WANT TO EXERCISE THE PREROGATIVE DEMOCRATS OFFER WHEN THEY ARE IN THE MINORITY, WHICH IS TO PROVIDE SOME CHECKS AND BALANCES TO THE PROPOSALS THAT ARE MADE HERE. AND THEN THE MAJORITY LEADER, RATHER THAN ENCOURAGING THAT, IS ARRIVING -- HE'S ALREADY THE WORLD RECORD HOLDER IN OFFERING NO MOTIONS. A NO MOTION SAYS NO TO MORE AMENDMENTS, NO TO MORE DEBATE, NO TO MORE CHECKS AND BALANCES. SO WE'LL VOTE ON THAT AGAIN TODAY. WE WANT MORE DEBATE. WE WANT MORE AMENDMENTS. WE WANT MORE CHECKS AND BALANCES. WE WANT TO EXERCISE THE PREROGATIVE WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PEOPLE UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET HAVE A RIGHT TO SEE WHAT'S IN THIS BILL. AND SO THAT WE'RE WELL INFORMED ABOUT THE BILL BEFORE WE PASS IT. WE'RE WRITING THE RULES FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICAN ECONOMY. WE PRODUCE 25% OF ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD. WHAT WE DO HERE TPAEBGTS NOT JUST -- AFFECTS NOT JUST NASHVILLE AND MAIN STREET AND AMERICAN TOWNS, BUT IT AFFECTS THE ENTIRE WORLD ECONOMY. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL. I SUPPOSE OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE THINK MAYBE, WELL MAYBE IT'S POLITICALLY SMART TO OFFER ALL THESE "NO" MOTIONS. WE LIKE TO BE KNOWN AS THE PARTY THEY MAY BE THINKING WANTS TO CUT OFF FOR A RECORD TIME THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEBATE, THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER AMENDMENTS, THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE CHECKS AND BALANCES. I DON'T THINK IT'S SO POLITICALLY WISE. I THINK IT'S POLITICALLY TONE-DEAF. THE PEOPLE IN MY STATE DON'T WANT TO SEE ANOTHER BIG BILL RUN THROUGH CONGRESS AS FAST AS A FREIGHT TRAIN WITHOUT CHECKS AND BALANCES. WE SAW THAT WITH THE HEALTH CARE BILL, AND YOU KNOW WHAT WE GOT. WE GOT A HEALTH CARE LAW THAT OVER THE WEEKEND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S CHIEF ACTUARY SAID IT DOES JUST WHAT REPUBLICANS SAID IT WOULD DO: INCREASES SPENDING, INCREASES PREMIUMS. IT WILL HAVE MEDICARE CUTS. WE SAID ALL THAT. WE ARGUED STRONGLY THAT IT WOULD BE BETTER INSTEAD OF EXPANDING A HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM THAT ALREADY IS TOO EXPENSIVE, THAT WE SHOULD INSTEAD FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON REDUCING THE COST OF HEALTH CARE SO MORE AMERICANS COULD BUY INSURANCE. THAT WAS OUR EFFORT AT CHECKS AND BALANCES. I THINK WE WON THE ARGUMENT BUT WE LOST THE VOTE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE BY ONE VOTE. WE WOULD LIKE TO WIN THE ARGUMENT HERE ON FINANCIAL REGULATION AS WELL. SAY LET'S REIN IN WALL STREET. BUT WHY ARE WE MAKING IT HARDER TO BORROW MONEY ON MAIN STREET, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES? WE SHOULD BE MAKING IT EASIER TO CREATE JOBS AND TO MAKE INVESTMENTS ON MAIN STREET. WHY ARE WE REINING IN MAIN STREET AND IGNORING THE TWO GREAT HOUSING AGENCIES THAT WERE AT THE ROOT CAUSE OF THIS GREAT RECESSION WE'RE IN? MAIN STREET WAS NOT THE CAUSE OF THE RECESSION. THE GREAT HOUSING AGENCIES WERE. SO WE'RE REINING IN MAIN STREET LENDING AND WE'RE IGNORING FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC, THE TWO GREAT HOUSING AGENCIES? WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS THAT WE WANT TO MAKE SURE ARE ANSWERED PROPERLY. DOES THIS LEGISLATION GIVE BIG BANKS AN ADVANTAGE OVER COMMUNITY BANKS? DOES IT MAKE BIG BANKS PERMANENTLY TOO BIG TO FAIL? THE REPUBLICAN LEADER SAID, WELL, GOLDMAN SACHS SUPPORTS THE BILL. WELL, THEY MAY, BUT YESTERDAY IN MY OFFICE THE DENTISTS DIDN'T, THE AUTO DEALER DIDN'T, THE COMMUNITY BANKER DIDN'T, THE PEOPLE UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET DIDN'T. SO WHAT ARE WE TO TAKE FROM THAT DIFFERENCE OF OPINION? SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WE'RE HERE TODAY TO SAY LET'S WORK TOGETHER. LET'S TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS GREAT SYSTEM OF CHECKS AND BALANCES THAT OUR FOUNDERS WROTE INTO THE CONSTITUTION THAT SAID THAT IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE WE COME TO CONSENSUS. LET'S LOOK CAREFULLY AT THIS BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION WHICH WILL HAVE SO MUCH INDEPENDENCE WHICH WILL HAVE A PARTISAN APPOINTMENT WHICH CAN CRUISE WHAT FINANCIAL PRODUCTS CAN AND CANNOT BE OFFERED AND COULD REGULATE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NONBANK BUSINESSES A SKPWAOURPL ROW THAT COULD -- A CONSUMER BUREAU THAT COULD PLACE NEW BURDENS ON MAIN STREET BUSINESSES THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ECONOMIC CRISIS AND VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH THE FINANCIAL WORLD. THESE MAINTENANCE AND TIME-CONSUMING REQUIREMENTS, THESE NEW FORMS TO FILL OUT AND DELAYS ARE NOT THE WAY TO HELP CREATE NEW JOBS AND GET THE AMERICAN ECONOMY MOVING AGAIN. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, WHAT WE'RE SAYING ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE IS WE THINK WE HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY HERE. WE THINK, AS THE PRESIDENT SAID IN HIS CAMPAIGN, WE CAN COME TOGETHER, WRITE RULES THAT HELP TO FIX THE PROBLEMS THAT HELP CREATE THE GREAT RECESSION. WE CAN'T GUARANTEE THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER RECESSION, BUT WE CAN AVOID SOME OF THE ABUSES. THIS ALL STARTED OUT IN A GOOD WAY WITH SENATOR DODD, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE, APPOINTING A REPUBLICAN AND THEN A DEMOCRAT, DIVIDING IT UP INTO TEAMS. AND SUDDENLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DISCUSSION SOMEBODY SAID, WAIT A MINUTE, WE WON THE ELECTION. WE'LL WRITE THE PASS AND -- WE'LL WRITE THE BILL AND PASS IT. SHOULDN'T WE HAVE LEARNED WITH THE HEALTH CARE LAW IT'S NOT JUST A MATTER OF PASSING THE BILL, IT'S GAINING CONFIDENCE IN THE BILL? DON'T WE WANT THE COUNTRY TO LOOK UP AT WASHINGTON AND SAY I'M RELIEVED TO SEE THAT REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC SENATORS ARE WORKING TOGETHER ON THESE GREAT ISSUES, AND 70 OR 80 OF THEM VOTE YES. WE'VE WRITTEN THE RULES FOR THE FUTURE FOR THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES, WHICH IS IN SOME TROUBLE. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE CHANGED WHETHER WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS OR A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS AFTER NOVEMBER. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU CAN RELY ON. THEN SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE UP AND DOWN MAIN STREET, BUSINESS PEOPLE ON WALL STREET, COMMODITIES MARKETS IN CHICAGO, ALL OF THE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE HAVE MONEY THAT'S JUST SITTING, THEY SAY WE SEE SOME CERTAINTY BECAUSE OF THE STABILITY IN WASHINGTON AND WE'RE READY TO CREATE NEW JOBS. I BELIEVE THIS CAN BE A TIPPING POINT IN THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY. SO WHY WOULD WE PLAY POLITICS IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE? WHY WOULD THE OTHER SIDE KEEP OFFERING NO MOTION THAT IS CUT OFF OUR RIGHT TO DEBATE, OUR RIGHT TO OFFER DEBATE, OUR CONSTITUTIONAL PREROGATIVE TO OFFER CHECKS AND BALANCES ON A RUNAWAY WASHINGTON GOVERNMENT? WE THINK MOST AMERICANS WANT THOSE CHECKS AND BALANCES. AND SHOULD WE HAVE THEM AND SHOULD WE DEMONSTRATE A BIPARTISAN BILL HERE, WE'LL NOT ONLY GET A GOOD BILL, WE'LL NOT ONLY HELP CREATE GOOD RULES FOR THE FUTURE. WE CAN AVOID PUTTING HANDCUFFS ON MAIN STREET FROM AUTO DEALERS TO COMMUNITY BANKS. AND WE CAN SEND A SIGNAL TO OUR COUNTRY THAT THERE'S CERTAINTY IN THE MARKETPLACE. GO AHEAD AND MAKE YOUR INVESTMENT. GO AHEAD AND CREATE YOUR JOB. THE WORLD WILL RESPOND FAVORABLY TO THAT. WE CAN GET OUT OF THIS GREAT RECESSION THAT WE'RE IN. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I'M HERE TO SAY TODAY THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT THIS PHRASE "WE'RE FROM WASHINGTON, AND WE'RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU." THEY THINK IT'S A BETTER IDEA TO SAY "WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOME CHECKS AND BALANCES APPLIED TO THE MAJORITY'S PUSH FOR THIS NEW CONSUMER REGULATION BILL. AND IF WE DO APPLY THOSE CHECKS AND BALANCES AND COME TO A BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON THE BILL, THE COUNTRY WILL BE PLEASED WITH THE WORK WE'RE DOING HERE AND THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY, HOPEFULLY, WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO MOVE ALONG A LITTLE MORE RAPIDLY. MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK THE CHAIR, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. AND I NOTICE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:08:24 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:08:45 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 10:16:30 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:16:32 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 10:16:35 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 10:16:38 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    I UNDERSTAND THAT, ALTHOUGH THE REPUBLICANS STILL HAVE TIME LEFT UNDER THE…

    I UNDERSTAND THAT, ALTHOUGH THE REPUBLICANS STILL HAVE TIME LEFT UNDER THE DIVISION, THAT WITH THEIR CONSENT THAT IT'S PERMISSIBLE TO PROCEED WITH THE TIME FOR THE MAJORITY.

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  • 10:16:52 AM

    MR. CARDIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I TAKE THIS TIME TO EMPHASIZE THE NEED OF OUR NATION TO…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I TAKE THIS TIME TO EMPHASIZE THE NEED OF OUR NATION TO MOVE FORWARD WITH AN ENERGY POLICY. I KNOW THAT THE PRESIDING OFFICER SHARES THAT COMMITMENT ON WORKING VERY HARD ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE TO PRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT WILL SOLVE THE THREE MAJOR ISSUES WE HAVE IN THIS NATION WITH ENERGY. ONE, TO CREATE JOBS. WE NEED TO CREATE GOOD, CLEAN ENERGY JOBS HERE IN AMERICA, NOT LOSE THEM TO OVERSEAS. WE NEED THAT. WE ALSO UNDERSTAND WE NEED AN ENERGY POLICY FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. WE'VE GOT TO BECOME ENERGY-SECURE HERE IN AMERICA. AND WE NEED TO DO IT FOR THE SAKE OF OUR ENVIRONMENT. WE KNOW THAT GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, CARBON EMISSIONS, IS POLLUTING OUR AIRS AND THAT WE CAN ANSWER ALL THREE OF THESE ISSUES -- CREATING JOBS, NATIONAL SECURITY, AND ENVIRONMENT -- THROUGH ALTERNATIVE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES, USING LESS ENERGY AND MOVING FORWARD WITH NUCLEAR ENERGY. ALL THAT WE NEED TO DO. AND IT CANNOT BE SOLVED BY TRYING TO DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. I SAY THAT BECAUSE AMERICA HAS SOMEWHERE AROUND 3% OF THE GLOBAL OIL RESERVES. WE USE ABOUT 25%. WE CAN'T DRILL OUR WAY OUT. AND, SECONDLY, WE'VE GOT TO USE LESS CARBON EMISSION FUEL SOURCES FOR THE SAKE OF OUR ENVIRONMENT. PRESIDENT OBAMA RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE OPENING OF EIGHT FRONTIER AREAS IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THE OUTERSHELF EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF OIL AND GAS. I OPPOSE THAT POSSIBLE, AND I WANT TO EXPLAIN TO MY COLLEAGUES WHY I OPPOSE THAT POLICY. SECRETARY SALAZAR SAID THAT WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREAS FROM DRILLING. I AGREE. HIS -- THE PRESIDENT'S ANNOUNCEMENT PROTECTED THE WEST COAST AND THE NORTH ATLANTIC, BUT I CAN TELL YOU, JUST TALK TO ANY PEOPLE IN THIS REGION, AND THEY'LL TELL YOU THAT THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND OUR COASTLINES IN THIS AREA ARE JUST AS PRECIOUS AND JUST AS VULNERABLE AS THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE NORTH ATLANTIC. I OPPOSE THE PRESIDENT'S POLICY BECAUSE THERE ARE OTHER AREAS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. 68 MILLION ACRES THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN EXPLORED ARE AVAILABLE IN THIS COUNTRY FOR OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION. MANY OF THOSE AREAS ARE ON THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF. SO THERE'S NO NEED AT THIS TIME TO EXPAND THAT NETWORK. AND I MUST TELL YOU, THE RISK-REWARD IS MOSTLY WHAT I AM CONCERNED ABOUT. THE RISK OF DOING ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE VERSUS THE LITTLE OIL THAT MAY BE IN THESE AREAS. IT JUST DOESN'T PAY. I HEARD THE ADVOCATES OF OFFSHORE DRILLING SAY, WELL, MODERN TECHNOLOGY HAS SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED THE RISK, THAT WE NOW KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE. AND AVOID ANY TYPE OF CATASTROPHIC ENVIRONMENTAL RISK. WELL, MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME SHARE WITH YOU THIS PHOTO. YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE DEEP WATER HORIZON IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. THIS PHOTOGRAPH OCCURRED AT AN ACCIDENT JUST EIGHT DAYS AGO IN WHICH THERE WAS A TRAGIC EXPLOSION AND FIRE, IN WHICH PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES, WHICH IS THE GREATEST TRAGEDY, THE LOSS OF LIFE, BUT ALSO CREATED AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER. EIGHT DAYS AGO. NOW, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING. DEEP WATER HORIZON IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED OFFSHORE OIL RIG IN THE WORLD. $600 MILLION WAS SPENT TO CONSTRUCT THIS SO THAT IT WOULD BE SAFE. MY POINT IS, IT EXPLODED, AND IT COST PEOPLE THEIR LIVES, AND IT'S CREATED AN ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER. THIS OIL RIG IS LOCATED 50 MILES SOUTHEAST OF VENICE, LOUISIANA. THERE ARE 700,000 GALLONS OF NUMBER 2 FUEL ONBOARD THAT WAS BURNED OR SPILLED INTO THE GULF. IT'S CURRENTLY LEAKING ABOUT 1,000 BARRELS A DAY, GOING INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO. IT IS SPREADING. IF I COULD JUST SHOW YOU THIS MAP. NOW, THIS IS HARD TO SEE, BUT THIS IS FROM SPACE, TAKING A LOOK AT THIS REGION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. YOU CAN START TO SEE THE COASTLINE OF AMERICA. BUT YOU CAN ALSO SEE WHERE THE SPILL IS LOCATED. THE SPILL IS RIGHT HERE. SO FROM THE SPACE SHOT YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE SPILL AREA. THE SPILL AREA HAS SPREAD 1,800 MILES, AN AREA LARGER THAN THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND. THIS IS ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SPILL AREA. WHAT I'M SHOWING YOU HERE -- THIS IS WHAT THE OIL AREA THAT YOU SAW -- THIS IS ALL OIL THAT'S CURRENTLY IN THE GULF OF MEXICO, AND IT'S SPREADING. THE TRAJECTORY SHOWS -- AND THESE LINES ARE -- WHAT YOU SAW HERE IS THE AREA THAT INCLUDES JUST THIS AREA HERE. IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE GREEN IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THIS LIGHT ORANGE AREA. THAT'S WHERE IT'S PROJECTED TO GO ON APRIL 27. THIS IS SPREADING. LET ME TELL YOU THE GOOD NEWS IN THIS, TO THE EXTENT THERE IS GOOD NEWS, IS THAT WE HAVEN'T HAD STRONG WINDS OUT OF THE NORTH OR NORTHEAST. IF WE DID, IT'S VERY LIKELY THAT THIS OIL SPILL WOULD ALREADY BE APPROACHING THE COASTLINES. THERE'S MANY AREAS THAT ARE VULNERABLE AS A RESULT OF THE SPILL, MANY COASTAL AREAS IN LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND FLORIDA. IT'S APPROACHING THE DELTA AND BRETON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AND THE CHANDELIER BEARIER. IT THREATENS OUR COAST, BIRD NESTING HABITATS, WETLANDS, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON AND ON. I KNOW THE PRESIDING OFFICER THE PRESIDING--I KNOW THE PRESIDING OFFICER UNDERSTANDSUNDERSTANDS THAT OIFORT AREAS CAN BE DESTROYED FOR GENERATIONS AS A RESULT OF POLLUTION. WHEN WE LOSE WILDLIFE WE CAN LOSE IT PERMANENTLY. WHEN WE LOSE WETLANDS, WE LOSE THE FILTRATION SYSTEM THAT PROTECT US FROM POLLUTANTS COMING INTO THE BAY AND WE LOSE THE SPEED BUMPS THAT CAN PREVENT MORE HAVOC WHEN IT COMES TO OUR COAST. THIS IS ALL HAPPENING IN THE MOST -- AS A RESULT OF A SPILL AND FIRE FROM THE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED RIG IN THE WORLD. "THE NEW YORK TIMES" -- TODAY'S ARTICLE SAYS, "WE MIGHT HAVE TO HAVE A CONTROLLED BURN." WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO CLEAN UP THIS OIL. WE'RE TOLD WE HAVE TECHNOLOGY. NOW WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO USE A BURN IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THAT, WITH THE ENSUING CONSEQUENCES. THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE AN EVENT LIKE THIS IS YOU TRY TO PLUG THE HOLE SO IT DOESN'T SPILL OUT MORE OIL INTO THE BAY. GUESS WHAT? WE'RE TOLD BECAUSE OF THE DEPTH OF WHERE IT IS, IT COULD TAKE UP TO A MONTH -- SEVERAL MONTHS TO PLUG THE LEAK. AND GUESS -- AND SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? OIL IS POURING OUT. THEY SAY, WE'RE BAG TO TRY TO FUNNEL THE OIL FOR COLLECTION. IT'S NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE AT THIS STEP, TRYING TO RETROFIT EQUIPMENT TODAY IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THAT PROBLEM. WILL IT WORK? I DON'T KNOW. BUT THESE ARE THE RISKS INHERENT IN OFFSHORE DRILLING. IT UNDERSCORES MY CONCERN AND OPPOSITION FOR OFFSHORE DRILLING, AS PROPOSED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. SO LET ME TALK ABOUT WHY THIS IS NOT HYPOTHETICAL TO THE PEOPLE OF MARYLAND, BUT THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM. THERE IS A SITE KNOWN AS LEASE SALE 220. LEASE SALE 220 SITE IS LOCATED OFF THE SHORE OF VIRGINIA. IT'S A A 2.9 MILLION ACRE SITE. NOW, THE SITE THAT THEY WANT TO DRILL IS THE GREEN TRIANGLE THAT YOU SEE HERE. THE PURPLE SHOWS THE CURRENT FLOWS. AND HERE YOU SEE THE COASTS OF NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, AND SOUTH CAROLINA. WHAT IS INSTRUCTIVE BY THIS CHART IS YOU ALSO SEE HOW THE CURRENTS GO. LET ME ALSO TELL YOU THAT NOAA TELLS US THAT 72% OF THE TIME THE PREVAILING WINDS IN THIS REGION FLOW TOWARDS THE COAST. 72% OF THE TIME. IF THERE IS A CATASTROPHE, IF THERE IS AN OIL SPILL RELATED TO THIS SITE, THE LIKELIHOOD OF REACHING THE SHORES OF NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, THE OUTERBANKS ARE REAL -- ARE REAL. HERE'S THE MOUTH OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. 50 MILES AWAY FROM THIS SITE. THE CHESAPEAKE BAY, AS THE PRESIDING OFFICER KNOWS, WE'RE STRUGGLING TO DEAL WITH THE CLEANUP OF THE BAY. IT'S HARD ENOUGH JUST DEALING WITH THE KNOWN POLLUTANTS THAT COME IN FROM FARMING AND FROM DEVELOPMENT AND FROM STORM RUNOFF. PUT INTO THAT A POTENTIAL OIL SPILL, AND IT WOULD SET US BACK DECADES IN TRYING TO RESTART OUR OYSTER CROPS AND HELP OUR WATERMEN WITH THE BLUE CRABS AND TO DEAL WITH THE RETURNING OF THE ROCKFISH. IT'S TOO GREAT OF A RISK. AS SECRETARY SALAZAR SAID, THERE ARE CERTAIN PARTS OF THIS COUNTRY THAT ARE JUST SO ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE, THEY'RE NOT WORTH THE RISK. THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES, THE NORTH ATLANTIC, AND I TELL YOU THAT THE COAST AROUND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY FALLS INTO THAT CATEGORY. WE SHOULD NOT PERMIT THAT TYPE OF DRILLING. WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A CHANCE. I'M A STRONG PROPONENT, WITH -- I I'M A STRONG PROPONENT OF WHAT SENATOR KERRY IS ATTEMPTING TO DO IN BRINGING FORTH A BILL THAT WILL CREATE JOBS, DEAL WITH NATIONAL SECURITY AND RESPONSIBLY DEALING WITH POLLUTANTS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT AND BE AN INTERNATIONAL LEADER DEALING WITH CARBON REDUCTIONS. ALL THREE OF THOSE SOLUTIONS CAN BE DONE WITHOUT THIS DRILLING. WE'LL HAVE A CHANCE TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I JUST URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED OFF THE GULF OF MEXICO AND TO WORK WITH US TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE SENSIBLE ENERGY POLICY IN THIS COUNTRY, AND HELP ME AND HAPPY OUR NATION PROTECT THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND PROTECT THOSE LANDS THAT ARE JUST TOO VALUABLE AND TOO SENSITIVE TO RISK TO OIL DRILLING. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 10:28:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 10:30:09 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEW MEXICO.

  • 10:30:11 AM

    MR. UDALL

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE QUORUM CALL..

  • 10:30:15 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATOR FROM MEDICAL NEW MEXICO…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, THE SENATOR FROM MEDICAL NEW MEXICO IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 10:30:20 AM

    MR. UDALL

    YOU. MR. PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT CHRISTINA SWALLOW, A…

    YOU. MR. PRESIDENT. I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT CHRISTINA SWALLOW, A FELLOW IN MY OFFICE, BE GRANTED FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR TODAY.

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  • 10:30:27 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:30:29 AM

    MR. UDALL

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT I…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TODAY TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT I BELIEVE WILL HELP IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF AUTOMOBILE DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS. THE LEGISLATION, THE VEHICLE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS ACT, WOULD, AMONG OTHER THINGS, REQUIRE ALL AUTOMOBILES SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES BE EQUIPPED WITH AN EVENT DATA RECORDER OR E.D.R. THEY PROVIDE REPORT OF A VEHICLE'S OPERATING STATISTICS. THINGS LIKE THE THROTTLE POSITION AND THE SPEED OF THE VEHICLE. DURING THE LAST SECONDS BEFORE AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER A CRASH. THEY SERVE A SIMILAR FUNCTION AS THE BLACK BOXES THAT ARE IN EACH AIRPLANE. BY DOCUMENTING CRITICAL INFORMATION LEADING UP TO AN INCIDENT. BUT UNLIKE BLACK BOXES, AN E.D.R. DOES NOT RECORD THE VOICES OF THE VEHICLE OCCUPANTS. IT SIMPLY PRESERVES THE VEHICLE'S INTERNAL OPERATING DATA. THE INFORMATION STORED BY AN E.D.R. CAN BE CRUCIAL IN DETERMINING WHAT HAPPENS IN THE LAST FEW SECONDS PRIOR TO A CRASH AND THE MOMENTS IMMEDIATELY AFTER. IF A VEHICLE DOESN'T HAVE A RECORDER OR IF THE DATA IS NOT EASILY ACCESSIBLE, THIS INFORMATION CAN BE LOST. AND THAT LEADS LOCAL AND FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS LITTLE TO WORK WITH AS THEY TRY TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT A VEHICLE MALFUNCTION WAS TO BLAME. UNFORTUNATELY, WHILE THE MAJORITY OF VEHICLES IN THE UNITED STATES ARE CURRENTLY EQUIPPED WITH THESE RECORDERS, MANY STILL DO NOT HAVE THEM. IN 2006, THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, NHTSA, CREATED A FRAMEWORK FOR THE TYPE OF INFORMATION TO BE RECORDED BY EVENT DATA RECORDERS IN LIGHT-DUTY VEHICLES, BUT IT STOPPED SHORT OF REQUIRING THE RECORDERS. IF A VEHICLE MANUFACTURER INSTALLS AN EVENT DATA RECORDER IN A CAR, IT MUST COMPLY WITH THE RULES. BUT THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT THE MANUFACTURER INSTALL THE RECORDER IN THE FIRST PLACE. NHTSA'S 2006 RULE FURTHER REQUIRES THE MANUFACTURER TO ENSURE THAT A TOOL TO READ THE RECORDER IS COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE. TODAY, WHILE THERE ARE MANY TOOLS COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE, THERE IS NO ONE UNIVERSAL TOOL. CREATING A CHALLENGE FOR INVESTIGATORS WHO MUST CARRY A SUITCASE OF READERS WITH THEM ON INVESTIGATIONS. THIS IS AN UNNECESSARY BURDEN THAT CAN BE EASILY ADDRESSED. THIS PARTICULAR BURDEN CAME TO LIGHT RECENTLY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE TRAGIC TOYOTA CRASHES. DURING HEARINGS HELD BY CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER IN THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE, WE LEARNED THAT ALTHOUGH TOYOTAS WERE EQUIPPED WITH E.D.R.'S, UNTIL RECENTLY THEY WERE ONLY ABLE TO BE READ BY ONE COMPUTER IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES. THAT'S WHY IN ADDITION TO REQUIRING THE RECORDERS IN ALL VEHICLES FOR SALE IN THE UNITED STATES, THE VEHICLE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS ACT WILL ALSO REQUIRE THAT RECORDERS BE EASILY READ BY A UNIVERSAL TOOL, REGARDLESS OF MAKE OR MODEL OF THE VEHICLE. IN ADDITION, NHTSA'S RULE ALSO FAILS TO ADDRESS MEDIUM- AND HEAVY-DUTY VEHICLES. MY LEGISLATION WOULD REQUIRE NHTSA TO ISSUE A RULE ADDRESSING THOSE VEHICLES AS WELL. WHILE THEY COMPRISE A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, MEDIUM- AND HEAVY-DUTY VEHICLES ARE OVERREPRESENTED IN CRASHES RESULT ING IN FATALITIES. IN THESE CRASHES, AN EVENT DATA RECORDER WOULD BE A USEFUL TOOL DURING THE CRASH INVESTIGATION IN DIRGE THE CAUSE OF THE CRASH. -- IN DETERMINING THE CAUSE OF THE CRASH. MY BILL PROTECTS PRIVACY BY ASSURING THE DATA CAN ONLY BE ASSESSED WITH THE VEHICLE OWNER'S PERMISSION WHEN AUTHORIZED BY A COURT OR LEGAL PROCEEDING OR BY A GOVERNMENT MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY AGENCY. ADDING THESE RECORDERS WON'T COST MUCH. IN THEIR RULEMAKING, NHTSA ESTIMATED THE COST FOR THE MANUFACTURER TO INSTALL AN EVENT DATA RECORDER AT JUST OVER $2 PER VEHICLE. THAT IS A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR THE CRITICAL INFORMATION THAT CAN ULTIMATELY BE USED TO SAVE LIVES IN THE FUTURE. VEHICLE CRASHES ARE HORRIBLE AND OFTENTIMES TRAGIC. THEY RESULT IN DAMAGE, INJURIES, AND TOO OFTEN FATALITIES. THEY CREATE CONGESTION AND COSTS OUR ECONOMY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR. EVENT DATA RECORDERS WILL NOT PREVENT CRASHES, BUT THEY WILL HELP TO DETERMINE WHAT CAUSED THE CRASH. AND IN THE CASE OF A VEHICLE MALFUNCTION, HELP TO IDENTIFY SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE VEHICLE PEFORMANCE. IN THE END, THE DATA THEY PROVIDE WILL SERVE TO ENSURE A SAFER TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL. I URGE MY SENATE COLLEAGUES TO JOIN ME IN THIS IMPORTANT EFFORT TO IMPROVE VEHICLE SAFETY. I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU AND WITH MY CHAIRMAN, CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER WHO HAS BEEN A CHAMPION ON ISSUES OF TRANSPORTATION SAFETY, TO PASS THE VEHICLE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS ACT THIS YEAR. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 10:36:06 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA.

  • 10:36:08 AM

    MR. JOHANNS

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY JUST FOR A FEW…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY JUST FOR A FEW MINUTES TO TALK ABOUT S. 3217, THE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM BILL. I WANT TO FOCUS, IF I COULD, MY COMMENTS TODAY, MR. PRESIDENT, ON WHY THE CLOTURE VOTE ON FINANCIAL REFORM IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT KEY VOTE. MY COLLEAGUES FROM THE OTHER SIDE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS VOTE, AND IT'S OFTEN REFERRED TO AS A PROCEDURAL VOTE TO BEGIN DEBATE. ALMOST IN THE SAME SENTENCE, I THINK BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE RECOGNIZE THAT NOT WITHSTANDING THE GOOD WORK THAT HAS BEEN DONE BY CHAIRMAN DODD AND RANKING MEMBER SHELBY, THERE'S STILL SHALL TO BE DONE ON THIS BILL AND THERE ARE STILL SOME SIGNIFICANT FLAWS WITHIN THE BILL. NOW THE ARGUMENT GOES ON TO SAY DON'T WORRY, THESE PROBLEMS CAN BE WORKED OUT ON THE FLOOR. WE'LL HAVE A ROBUST DEBATE AND WE'LL HAVE FLOOR AMENDMENTS. SO GET THE BILL TO THE FLOOR, THE ARGUMENT GOES, AND THE PROMISE IS MADE THAT THE FIXES WILL THEN HAPPEN. BUT THAT'S WHERE THE LOGIC HERE REALLY GOES IN THE DITCH. ONCE THIS BILL DOES GET TO THE FLOOR, WE ALL RECOGNIZE THAT IT'S GOING TO BE VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO CHANGE IT. LOOK AT THE HEALTH CARE BILL TO SEE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO MAKE CHANGES. LET ME MAKE THAT COMPARISON BECAUSE I THINK IT'S A FAIR COMPARISON. DURING THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE, LET ME REMIND MY COLLEAGUES THAT THERE WERE 488 AMENDMENTS THAT WERE FILED. OF THOSE 488 AMENDMENTS, ONLY 28 RECEIVED A VOTE. 28 OUT OF 488. AND OF THOSE 28 AMENDMENTS, ONLY 11 AMENDMENTS PASSED. THIS MEANS THAT ONLY 2% OF ALL THE HEALTH CARE AMENDMENTS FILED ACTUALLY GOT ENACTED. NOW IF YOU LOOK AT THE PARTISAN NATURE OF THIS, IT EVEN BECOMES MORE BLEAK. IF YOU LOOK AT THE REPUBLICAN AMENDMENTS, YOU REALLY COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE'S A SERIOUS PROBLEM HERE. ONLY ONE REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT PASSED. SO THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR AMENDMENT DEPENDED UPON WHETHER YOU HAD AN "R" OR A "D" BEHIND YOUR NAME. SO THE NOTION THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO FIX A BILL -- AND AGAIN, EVERYBODY IS ACKNOWLEDGING IS A FLAWED BILL ON THE SENATE FLOOR -- IS REALLY PURE FOLLY. HISTORY IS OUR GREATEST TEACHER. INSTEAD, I WOULD RESPECTFULLY SUGGEST WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO DO IS GET SERIOUS ABOUT REACHING A BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE. I'VE SAID PUBLIC CLICKS I WILL SAY ON THE SENATE FLOOR EVERY OPPORTUNITY I GET, WITH A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF WORK, THIS BILL COULD GET 70, 80 VOTES. WE HAVE WORKED ON THIS ISSUE ON THE BANKING COMMITTEE FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WENT WRONG AND HOW BEST TO FIX IT. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT MEMBERS OF THE SENATE TO WORK TOGETHER ON THE BILL. THEY WONDER WHAT ON EARTH HAS COME OF CONGRESS WHEN THEY SEE US HOLDING -- HOLDING -- THE EXACT SAME CLOTURE VOTE ON THE EXACT SAME LEGISLATION DAY AFTER DAY. THEY ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION: WHY CAN'T YOU SIT DOWN AND WORK THROUGH THESE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION? NOW, I'M MINDFUL OF THE FACT THAT THIS IS PROBABLY CLEVER MESSAGING. A CLEVER MESSAGING PLOY BY WASHINGTON'S STANDARDS. BUT I WILL TELL YOU BY NEBRASKANS STANDARDS, WE'RE TIRED OF WASHINGTON CLEVERNESS. AND THE PARTISAN RHETORIC THAT GOES WITH IT. I CAN TELL YOU THAT PEOPLE WANT A BILL THAT WILL END TOO BIG TO FAIL AND PROTECT OUR ECONOMY FROM FINANCIAL MELTDOWN, BUT THEY DON'T WANT A BILL WRITTEN SO BROADLY THAT IT IMPACTS BUSINESSES IN A SEGMENT OF OUR ECONOMY THAT PLAYED NO PART IN THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. I WANT THESE SAME THINGS. I STILL BELIEVE THAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS. SO MY HOPE IS THAT WE CAN QUIT MAKING THIS AN ISSUE OF POLITICAL GAMES GAMESMANSHIP AND TALKING POINTS AND START WORKING TOWARDS A SOLUTION. I'VE CONSTANTLY STATED THAT THE ISSUE OF REGULATORY REFORM REALLY ISN'T A PARTISAN EXERCISE. THE ISSUE JUST DOESN'T CUT ON R&D LINES. WE CAN GET A BROAD BIPARTISAN BILL IF WE STOP THE ATTACKS AND FOCUS ON TRYING TO SOLVE THE DIFFERENCES THAT STILL EXIST ON THIS BILL, IMPORTANT POLICY DIFFERENCES. STOP THE DAILY CLOTURE VOTES. I UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL THEATER OF THAT, BUT IT DOESN'T LEND ITSELF TO SOLVING PROBLEMS. WHAT WE NEED IS A BIPARTISAN EFFORT HERE WHERE PEOPLE SIT DOWN AND WORK THROUGH THESE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:42:05 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    HAS THE QUORUM CALL BEGUN?

  • 10:42:07 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    YES.

  • 10:42:13 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:42:17 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:42:41 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:42:43 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    THE FREEZING OF FINANCIAL MARKETS IN THE COLLAPSE OF FINANCIAL…

    THE FREEZING OF FINANCIAL MARKETS IN THE COLLAPSE OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT SPARKED OUR INVESTIGATION ARE NOT JUST A MATTER OF NUMBERS ON A BALANCE SHEET. THESE ARE NUMBERS REFLECTING MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO LOST THEIR JOBS, LOST THEIR HOMES, LOST THEIR BUSINESSES A IN A RECESSION THAT THE HOUSING CRISIS SPARKED, AND THIS HAS BECOME NOW THE WORST ECONOMIC DECLINE SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. SO BEHIND THESE NUMBERS ARE AMERICAN FAMILIES WHO ARE STILL SUFFERING THE EFFECTS OF A MANMADE ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE. OUR GOAL HAS BEEN TO CONSTRUCT A RECORD OF THE FACTS IN ORDER TO TRY TO DEEPEN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT WENT WRONG, TO INFORM A LEGISLATIVE DEBATE ABOUT THE NEED FOR FINANCIAL REFORM AND TO PROVIDE A FOUNDATION FOR BUILDING BETTER DEFENSES TO PROTECT MAIN STREET FROM WALL STREET. OUR FIRST HEARING THREE, FOUR WEEKS AGO DEALT WITH THE IMPACT OF HIGH-RISK MORTGAGE LENDING, FOCUSED ON A CASE STUDY, AS OUR COMMITTEE DOES, THIS TIME THE WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, KNOWN AS WAMU, A THRIFT WHOSE LEADERS EMBARKED ON A RECKLESS STRATEGY TO PURSUE HIGHER PROFITS BY EMPHASIZING HIGH-RISK LOAN. THESE ARE NOT LOANS THAT WERE LIKELY JUST TO -- LIKELY TO FAIL. THESE LOANS ALSO CREATED REAL HARDSHIPS. THE BORROWERS AS WELL AS THE RISK FOR THE BANK ITSELF. WHAT HAPPENED WAS THERE WAS BASICALLY A CONVEYOR BELT WHICH WAS BUILT THAT FED TOXIC, BAD, RECKLESS MORTGAGES BASED ON THESE LOANS INTO A FINANCIAL SYSTEM JUST LIKE A POLLUTER DUMPS POISON INTO A RIVER. THIS WAS A COMMERCIAL STREAM THAT THESE MORTGAGES WERE DUMPED INTO. THE PACKAGE THAT THEY CAME DOWNSTREAM IN WAS A MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITY THAT WAMU SOLD TO GET THE ENORMOUS RISK OF THESE MORTGAGES OFF ITS OWN BOOKS. AND SHIFTED TO SOMEBODY ELSE. THE SECOND HEARING EXAMINED HOW FEDERAL REGULATORS AT THE OFFICE OF THRIFT SUPERVISION WATCHED, OBSERVED WAMU, SAW THE PROBLEMS YEAR AFTER YEAR AND DID NOTHING TO STOP THEM. SUPERVISION THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED AT ARMS LENGTH WAS INSTEAD DONE ARM IN ARM, SUPERVISING THE REGULATORS, SUPPOSED TO SUPERVISE -- PART OF ITS NAME -- ARM IN ARM WITH THE BANK IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE REGULATING. THE THIRD HEARING DEALT WITH CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. THESE ARE SPECIFIC CASE STUDIES OF STANDARD & POOR'S AND MOODIES AND WHILE WAMU AND OTHER RATERS DUMPED THESE BAD LOANS, CREDIT RATING AGENCIES WERE ASSURING EVERYBODY THAT THE POISON WATER WAS SAFE TO DRINK. TRIPLE-A RATINGS WERE SLAPPED ON BOTTLES OF HIGH-RISK FINANCIAL PRODUCTS. SO THAT WAS THE THIRD HEARING. WE GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE INHERENT CONFLICT OF INTEREST THAT IS INVOLVED WHEN CREDIT RATING AGENCIES ARE PAID BY THE PEOPLE WHOSE ACTUAL DOCUMENTS AND WHOSE TRANSACTIONS THEY'RE APPROVING OR NOT APPROVING AND PUTTING RATINGS OF TRIPLE HA, DOUBLE-A, WHAT HAVE YOU, ON IT. THERE IS AN INHERENT BUILT-IN CONFLICT OF INTEREST. YESTERDAY'S HEARING EXPLORED THE ROLE OF INVESTMENT BANKS. WE FOCUSED ON 2507 AND THAT HOUSING BUBBLE BURST OF GOLDMAN SACHS, ONE OF THE OLDEST FIRMS ON WALL STREET. GOLDMAN'S DOCUMENTS MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT IT WAS BETTING AGAINST THE HOUSING MARKET WHILE IT WAS AGGRESSIVELY SELLING INVESTMENTS IN THE HOUSING MARKET TO ITS OWN CLIENTS. IT WAS SELLING TO CLIENTS HIGH-RISK, MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES AND WHAT THEY CALL C.D. O.'S AND SYNTHETIC C.D.O.'S THAT THEY WANTED TO GET OFF THEIR BOOKS. THEY WANTED TO GET SECURITIES OFF THE BOOKS. THEY WERE SELLING THEM. THEY WERE REACHING OUT WITH ONE HAND TO RESPECTIVE BUYERS AND SAYING, HERE, BUT WITH THE OTHER HAND THEY WERE BETTING AGAINST THOSE SAME SECURITIES. THE BOTTOM LINE IS, WHAT WE DISCOVERED IN THIS INVESTIGATION, SAW YESTERDAY AT OUR HEARING, THAT THERE IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST TOO OFTEN BETWEEN WHAT'S IN GOLDMAN'S INTEREST, WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEIR BOTTOM LINE, AND WHAT IS IN ITS CLIENTS' INTERESTS. THESE ARE DEEPLY TROUBLING FINDINGS. THERE NOT ONLY WAS A COLLAPSE OF A HOUSING MARKET. THERE WAS A COLLAPSE OF VALUE. AND EXTREME GREED IS THE THREAD THAT CONNECTS THESE EVENTS, STARTING WITH THOSE MORTGAGES THAT WERE SOLD OUT THERE IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON BY A WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, EXTREME GREED THAT INDEED INVOLVED THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THE CREDIT RATING, BEING PAID AND DOING A LOUSY JOB, RATING THE FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS, THE PENSION FUNDS THAT OTHERS ARE BIRKS THE GREED THAT WAS INVOLVED IN WALL STREET, SELLING, SECURITIZING FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS WHICH THEY BELIEVED WERE NOT GOOD, THEY WERE BETTING AGAINST AT THE SAME TIME THEIR CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS WERE BEING SOLD. SO WHAT WE'VE GOT TO DO IS BUILD DEFENSES AGAINST THESE KINDS OF EXCESSES. AND I THINK MOST OF US THAT ARE AT THE HEARING, MOST OF US, DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN SENATORS, WHO ARE ON MY PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS SAW THE PROBLEMS RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING WHERE THE UPSTREAM MORTGAGES WERE CREATED, DOWNSTREAM WHERE THEY LANDED IN WALL STREET SECURITIES. WE SEE THE PROBLEMS. AMERICANS SEE THE PROBLEMS. AMERICANS AND WE -- WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND HOW A COMPANY CAN DESIGN AND BUILD A PRODUCT AND SELL THAT PRODUCT TO ITS CLIENTS WHILE AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE BETTING THAT THAT PRODUCT WILL FAIL. IT JUST RUNS CONTRARY TO COMMON SENSE. KIND OF A COMMON ETHIC. IF YOU'RE GOING TO SELL SOMEBODY A PAIR OF SHOES, IF YOU KNOW OR BELIEVE THAT THAT PAIR OF SHOES IS DEFECTIVE, IF YOU BET AGAINST THAT PAIR OF SHOES AND SO THAT YOUR PROFIT IS NOT JUST THE PROFIT YOU MAKE ON THAT IMMEDIATE SALE WHEN YOU SELL THAT PAIR OF SHOES, BUT WHEN THE PAIR OF SHOES FAILS THAT THERE'S SOME WAY A PROFIT COMES TO YOU AS WELL, WHEN YOU'RE BETTING ON THE FAILURE OF THE PRODUCT AND WILL MAKE MONEY FROM THAT BET WHEN THAT PRODUCT FAILS, MOST AMERICANS -- AND I THINK MOST MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE HOPEFULLY, MAYBE ALL OF US -- SAY TO OURSELVES, THAT KIND OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST HAS GOT TO BE STOPPED. THAT'S NOT WHAT THE WALL STREET FOLKS WERE TELLING US YESTERDAY, IS MAKING A MARKET, WHERE YOU'VE GOT SOMEONE WHO COMES IN AND WANTS TO SELL SOMETHING AND SOMEBODY WHO WANTS TO BUY SOMETHING OR PUT TOGETHER. THAT'S MAKING A MANCHET BRING A BUYER AND A SELLER TOGETHER. THIS IS -- THAT'S MAKING A MARKET. BRINGING A BUYER AND A SELLER TOGETHER. THIS IS WHERE THE FIRM -- WHERE THE PERSON WHO IS GOING TO BE BETTING IS ON ONE SIDE OF THE DEAL. THAT PERSON IS GOLDMAN SACHS. THEY IN SOME OF THESE DEALS WERE TAKING IN INSTRUMENTS, SECURITIES FROM THEIR OWN INVENTORY THAT THEY WANTED TO GET RID OF, PACKAGED THEM INTO A FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, SELL THAT INSTRUMENT TO THEIR CUSTOMERS -- SO FAR SO GOOD, PROVIDING THEY DISCLOSE THAT IT'S THEIR OWN PRODUCT THAT THEY'RE SELLING; THAT'S OKAY -- BUT THEN THEY TAKE WHAT THEY CALL A SHORT POSITION. THEY TAKE A BET. THEY MAKE A BET AGAINST THE VERY INSTRUMENT THAT THEY PUT TOGETHER TO SELL TO THEIR CUSTOMERS. THAT, TO ME, IS INCREDIBLE. AND THEY ALSO ARE ENGAGED -- AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE ENGAGED IN WHAT WE CALL THESE CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS, WHICH ARE NOTHING MORE THAN CASINO BETS AS TO WHETHER SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN OR NOT. WHERE, FOR INSTANCE, PEOPLE ARE BETTING THAT A PARTICULAR, SAY, STOCK WILL GO UP OR DOWN. NEITHER PARTY OWNS THE STOCK, IF IT'S A SO-CALLED SYNTHETIC DEFAULT SWAP. THEY'RE JUST BETTING. I BET YOU THAT STOCK WILL GO UP. YOU BET IT'LL GO DOWN. THAT'S OKAY. PEOPLE WANT TO BET ON THAT, LET THEM BET. BUT WHEN THE GOVERNMENT ENDS UP PAYING THE WINNING BETTER, NOW YOU'VE -- THE WINNING BETTOR, NOW YOU'VE GOT A PROBLEM. WHERE THE COMPANY THAT IS MAKING THOSE BETS, ENSURING THOSE BETS, AS IT WAS CALLED IN THE CASE OF A.I.G., SUPPOSED TO BE ENSURING THAT'S BETS, IS SURE TO FAIL. THEY HAVE ANNESSURED SO MANY BETS AND PENSION FUNDS THAT IF THAT PRIVATE COMPANY FAILS, THE ECONOMY IS GOING TO BE TERRIBLY DAMAGED AS RESULT AND WE END UP, AS TAXPAYERS, PAYING OFF THOSE BETS. THAT HAS GOT TO BE STOPPED AS WELL. THEIST ARE JUST CASINO BETS, AND WE SHOULDN'T PAYING THE WINNER. I WOULD YIELD MYSELF FIVE ADDITIONAL MINUTES.

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  • 10:52:48 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:52:50 AM

    MR. LEVIN

    NOW, THROUGHOUT THESE HEARINGS WE SEE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY. EXECUTIVES…

    NOW, THROUGHOUT THESE HEARINGS WE SEE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY. EXECUTIVES AT WASHINGTON MUTUAL MAKE THE RECKLESS MORTGAGE LOAN. NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE. EXECUTIVES AT GOLDMAN SACHS AND THEIR COMPANY WHO PASSAGED MANY OF THESE SAME -- WHO PACKAGED MANY OF THESE SAME LOANS INTO TOXIC SECURITIES AND THEN TAKE A CONFLIBLGHT OF INTEREST POSITION ON IT, NO ACCOUNTABILITY. REGULATORS, CREDIT RATING AGENCIES THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO CHECK THESE EXCESSES, NO ACCOUNTABILITY. IN EACH CASE THE SENIOR LEADERS THAT MANAGED TO AVOID RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CRICKETS TO A CRISIS -- FOR THE CONTRIBUTIONS TO A CRISIS, WHICH HAS CAUSED MILLIONS OF AMERICANS TO LOSE THEIR JOBS OR THEIR HOMES OR THEIR BUSINESSES. NOW, OTHERS MAY FAIL TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS, BUT WE MUST EXERCISE OUR ACCOUNTABILITY. WE MUST ACT. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, KNOWING WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THE CRISIS, KNOWING THAT THERE'S NO REAL REGULATOR ON THE BEAT ON WALL STREET, THEY DON'T HAVE A COP ON THE STREET AT WALL STREET. WE NEED A REGULATOR THERE, WE NEED CREDIT RATING AGENCIES THAT ARE NOT INVOLVED IN CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, WE NEED TO HAVE A BANKING REGULATOR THAT ACTS, NOT JUST WATCHES BUT ACTS, HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT AS WELL. THE DODD BILL ACTS -- TAKES VERY, VERY SIGNIFICANT STEPS RELATIVE TO EACH OF THESE AREAS, WHETHER IT IS THE BANKING ARKS THE REGULATORS'S REGULATORS' AREA, THE CREDIT RATING AREA. THERE ARE SOT CRITICAL STEPS TAKEN IN THE DODD BILL. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY DON'T LIKE PORTIONS OF THE DODD BILL. OKAY, BRING THE BILL TO THE FLOOR AND LET'S DEBATE IT. LET'S LEGISLATE IT. THE LEALGIVE PROCESS IS SUPPOSED TO INVOLVE -- THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS IS POSED SUPPOSED TO INVOLVE SOONER OR LATER A BILL WHICH COMES TO THE FLOOR AND IS OPEN FOR AMENDMENT AND THEN YOU DEBATE. THERE ARE A LOT OF AREAS IN THIS BILL THAT CAN BE STRENGTHENED. THERE ARE SOME AREAS IN THE BILL THAT SOME PEOPLE DON'T LIKE AND WOULD LIKE TO STRIKE. WE'VE BEEN ON THIS BILL NOW IN COMMITTEESCOMMITTEES WITH JURISDICTION FOR MONTHS. THERE HAVE BEEN HEARINGS IN THOSE COMMITTEES. I THINK WE KNOW WHAT THE ISSUES ARE, AND THERE'S NO AGREEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION OF THIS. THERE'S NO UNANIMOUS CONSENT, OBVIOUSLY, AS TO EXACTLY WHAT REFORMS SHOULD BE PUT IN PLACE AND HOW THEY SHOULD BE WRITTEN, BUT WE CAN'T ALWAYS OPERATE IN THE MIDDLE AFTER CRISIS BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT. YET AT SOME POINT WHERE THERE ARE DIFFERENCES, HAVE TO BRING THOSE DIFFERENCES TO THE FLOOR AND DEBATE THEM AND OFFER AMENDMENTS ON THEM AND VOTE THEM UP OR DOWN. THAT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AND IT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE -- IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE TO BLOCK THAT PROCESS FROM TAKE PLACE. I THINK ALMOST ALL OF US SAY WE WANT REFORM. THAT THERE'S ENOUGH OF US WHO SAY WE'RE NOT GOING TO ALLOW THIS TO BE DEBATED UNLESS WE GET OUR WAY, THAT THIS IS GOING TO STYMIE -- THE REFORM PROCESS HAS BEEN THWARTED BY A FILIBUSTER. IT IS WRONG, AND THE REMEDIES THAT IS ARE OFFERED CAN BE DEBATED AND CAN BE VOTED AND ARE ESSENTIAL TO AVOID A REPEAT OF THIS DISASTER. THESE ARE COMPLEX ISSUES. WE ALL KNOW THAT. BUT THERE'S BEEN A HUGE AMOUNT OF DEBATE AND ATTENTION AND ANALYSIS ON THESE ISSUES. THERE'S GOING TO BE DIFFERENCES ON THESE ISSUES. BUT THE PLACE TO RESOLVE DIFFERENCES IS FINALLY HERE ON THE FLOOR. OFTEN WE CAN RESOLVE THEM BEFORE WE GET TO THE FLOOR. FINE. BUT TO STOP A LEGISLATIVE PROCESS FROM TAKING PLACE, IT SEEMS TO ME, IS AN IRRESPONSIBLE ACT WHEN WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF ARE A CRISIS AND WHERE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES WANT CONFIDENCE THAT THEIR LEGISLATORS ARE ADDRESSING THIS CRISIS. SO I WOULD HOPE THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL ALLOW THIS BILL TO COME TO THE FLOOR, TO OFFER AMENDMENTS. THERE ARE MANY AMENDMENTS THAT ARE GOING TO BE OFFERED. SENATOR MERKLEY AND I HAVE AN AMENDMENT WHICH WE BELIEVE WILL STRENGTHEN, JUST TO GIVE ONE EXAMPLE -- THAT AMENDMENT HAS NOT YET BEEN -- QUOTE -- "WORKED OUT" WITH THE SPONSORS OF THE BILL. HOPE HOPEFULLY WE CAN GET THEM TO -- HOPEFULLY WE CAN GET THEM TO AGREE TO LANGUAGE WHICH WILL ALLOW FOR A STRONGER STEP TO BE TAKEN IN AN AREA WHICH WE THINK INVOLVESES SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST. BUT IF WE CAN'T -- QUOTE -- "WORK IT OUT" IN ADVANCE, OKAY. THERE'S SUCH A THING CALLED AN AMENDMENT. IT'S PART OF OUR RULES BOOK. WE CAN OFFER AMENDMENTS, IF YOU WANT. YOU CAN'T ALWAYS WORK OUT THINGS IN A BACK ROOM SOMEWHERE. THAT DOESN'T -- I DON'T WANT TO DENIGRATE WORKING PROBLEMS OUT. I TRY TO DO IT ALL THE TIME AS CHAIRMAN OF THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE. I DON'T DENIGRATE THE PROCESS OF WORKING THINGS OUT IN ADVANTAGES. LORD KNOWS, WE WORK MOST THINGS OUT IN ADVANCE. BUT WITH A PROJECT, A THREAT OF THIS SIZE, WHICH REQUIRES US TO ACT, AND THERE'S BEEN A GOOD-FAITH EFFORT TO COME TO SOME KIND OF AGREEMENT IN ADVANCE, WHERE THAT PROVES NOT TO BE POSSIBLE, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, WE'VE GOT TO LEGISLATE. WE'VE GOT TO HAVE AN ABILITY TO MOVE TO THE FLOOR WITH A BILL AND TO GO THROUGH A LEGISLATIVE PROCESS WITH IT. THAT'S WHAT'S BEEN THWARTED. THAT'S WHAT'S BEEN DENIED US BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE 60 VOTES, AND I JUST HOPE THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES WILL SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ISSUE, THE ESSENTIAL NEED FOR REFORM, AND ALLOW THIS BILL TO COME TO THE FLOOR AND BE LEGISLATED UPON. AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 10:58:50 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 10:58:53 AM

    MR. DORGAN

    MR. PRESIDENT, WOULD THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA YIELD FOR A A QUESTION,…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WOULD THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA YIELD FOR A A QUESTION, VERY BRIEFLY?

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  • 10:59:01 AM

    MR. DORGAN

    IF I CAN ASK THE SENATOR HOW LONG HE EXPECTS TO HOLD THE FLOOR?

  • 10:59:06 AM

    MR. VITTER

    F 14 MINUTES A LATEST.

  • 10:59:10 AM

    MR. DORGAN

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO FOLLOW THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA FOR 15 MINUTES AND…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO FOLLOW THE SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA FOR 15 MINUTES AND BE RECOGNIZED IN MORNING BUSINESS.

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  • 10:59:17 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IS THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 10:59:19 AM

    MR. VITTER

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO STRONGLY AGREE WITH CHAIRMAN LEVIN…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I RISE TO STRONGLY AGREE WITH CHAIRMAN LEVIN THAT WHAT WE'VE HEARD IN MANY OF THESE HEARINGS REGARDING GOLDMAN SACHS' ACTIVITY AND MANY OTHERS IS EXTREMELY DISTURBING, REALLY OUTRAGEOUS, AND I DON'T SUPPORT THAT ACTIVITY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. I THINK I HAVE A LOT OF CREDIBILITY SAYING THAT, MR. CHAIRMAN, BECAUSE BACK IN THE FALL OF 2008, I DIDN'T SUPPORT HUGE TAXPAYER BAILOUTS TO GOLDMAN SACHS AND THE OTHER MEGAFIRMS. I OPPOSED THOSE TAXPAYER BAILOUTS. I THOUGHT IT WAS WRONG AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND MOVING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. BUT I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH THE DISTINGUISHED CHAIRMAN THAT THE PRESENT VERSION OF THE DODD BILL FIXES THESE KEY ISSUES. I DON'T THINK IT DOES. AND SO SO I ENCOURAGE US TO HAVE A TRUE BIPARTISAN BILL THAT CAN COME TO THE FLOOR TO REALLY ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS THAT EXIST. MR. CHAIRMAN, I HAVE THREE MAJOR SETS OF KERPBZ ABOUT THE DODD BILL IN ITS -- CONCERNS ABOUT THE DODD 3WEU8 IN ITS PRESENT FORM. THE FIRST IS VERY FUNDAMENTAL. THE DODD BILL EXPANDS TOO BIG TO FAIL. IT DOESN'T END IT. THE DODD BILL ENSURES FUTURE BAILOUTS. IT DOESN'T STOP BAILOUTS. AND THAT'S A BIG, BIG PROBLEM TO ME AND I BELIEVE TO AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S NOT JUST ME SAYING THIS. IT'S MANY EDUCATED FOLKS. TAKE "TIME" MAGAZINE, NOT EXACTLY AN ARCH CONSERVATIVE PUBLICATION, AND THEY HAVE REPORTED -- QUOTE -- "POLICY EXPERTS AND ECONOMISTS FROM BOTH ENDS OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM SAY THE BILL DOES LITTLE TO END THE PROBLEM OF BANKS BECOMING SO BIG THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS FORCED TO BAIL THEM OUT WHEN THEY STUMBLE. SOME SAY THE PROPOSED FINANCIAL REFORM MAY EVEN MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE." CLOSE QUOTE. ALSO JEFFREY LACQUER, HE'S THE -- LACKER, THE PRESIDENT OF THE RICHMOND FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD. IN A CNBC INTERVIEW, CNBC ASKED HIM DOESN'T THE DODD BILL ALLOW FOR WINDING DOWN FAILED INSTITUTIONS? AND LACKER SAID -- QUOTE -- "IT ALLOWS THOSE THINGS, BUT IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THEM." MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME REPEAT THAT BECAUSE THAT GOES TO THE HEART OF THE PROBLEM. "IT ALLOWS THOSE THINGS, BUT IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THEM." MOREOVER, IT PROVIDES TREMENDOUS DISCRETION FOR THE TREASURY AND FDIC TO USE THAT FUND TO BUY ASSETS FROM THE FAILED FIRM, TO GUARANTEE LIABILITIES OF THE FAILED FIRM, TO BUY LIABILITIES OF THE FAILED FIRM. THEY CAN SUPPORT CREDITORS IN THE FAILED FIRM. THEY HAVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF DISCRETION. AND SO, AGAIN, THEY HAVE THE ABILITY FOR MORE BAILOUTS, FOR CONTINUED PUMPING OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS INTO FAILED FIRMS. WILLIAM ISAAC IS A RESPECTED FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE FDIC. HE AGREES -- QUOTE -- "NEARLY ALL OF OUR POLITICAL LEADERS AGREE THAT WE MUST BANISH THE TOO-BIG-TO-FAIL DOCTRINE IN BANKING. BUT NEITHER THE FINANCIAL REFORM BILL APPROVED IN THE HOUSE NOR THE BILL PROMOTED BY THE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE, CHAIRMAN CHRIS DODD, WILL ELIMINATE IT." CLOSE QUOTE. AND SIMON JOHNSON, DISTINGUISHED M.I. AT THIS TIME PROFESSOR PUT -- M.I.T. PROFESSOR PUT IT SUCCINCTLY -- QUOTE -- "TOO BIG TO FAIL IS OPPOSED BY THE RIGHT AND THE LEFT BUT NOT APPARENTLY BY THE PEOPLE DRAFTING LEGISLATION." CLOSE QUOTE. THESE ARE SPECIFIC WAYS THE DODD BILL ACTUALLY EXPANDS TOO BIG TO FAIL. SPECIFIC AUTHORITY, SPECIFIC SECTIONS THAT CLEARLY DO THAT. NOW A LOT OF THE ATTENTION HAS BEEN PAID RECENTLY TO THE $50 BILLION PREPAID FUND, AND THAT IS PROBLEMATIC IN MY MIND. BUT THAT'S NOT THE ONLY, NOT EVEN THE MOST PROBLEMATIC SECTION OF THE BILL THAT EXPANDS TOO BIG TO FAIL. ALL OF THESE SECTIONS GO DIRECTLY TO THAT ISSUE. MR. PRESIDENT, MY SECOND MAIN OBJECTION TO THE BILL IS THAT THE BILL ALSO CREATES A NEW ALL POWERFUL SUPERBUREAUCRACY THAT GOES WELL BEYOND THE NEED FOR TARGETED REGULATION TO PREVENT WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. AGAIN, THESE ARE SPECIFIC SECTIONS THAT CREATE THIS HUGE NEW ALL-POWERFUL SUPERBUREAUCRACY. ONE OF THE MOST WORRISOME IS SECTION 1081. THAT SUBJECTS ANYBODY, ANY BUSINESS WHO ACCEPTS FOUR INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS TO THE CFPB, THE NEW SUPERBUREAUCRACY. MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S NOT JUST GOLDMAN SACHS. THAT'S JUST NOT CITIGROUP, BANK OF AMERICA. THAT'S MY FAMILY'S ORTHODONTIST. THAT'S MY NEIGHBORHOOD STORE THAT SELLS ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT. THAT IS A HUGE COVERAGE AFFECTING MILLIONS OF SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGHOUT AMERICA. IMAGINE ANYBODY WHO ACCEPTS FOUR INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS, IS THAT REALLY THE PROBLEM ACTORS WE'RE GOING AFTER? THIS IS A HUGE OVERREACH IN TERMS OF FEDERAL REGULATION. AND THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WITH THE BILL. AND FINALLY, MR. PRESIDENT, THE THIRD MAJOR PROBLEM WITH THE BILL IS THAT THE PRESENT VERSION OF THE DODD BILL DOES NOTHING TO FIX CERTAIN KEY CAUSES OF THE CRISIS. WHAT DO I MEAN BY THAT? WELL, IT DOES NOTHING ON FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC. AN 1,100-PAGE BILL SUPPOSEDLY COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM, AND YET THE FOUR WORDS -- FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC -- ARE NOWHERE IN THOSE 1,100 PAGES. THIS WAS NOT THE ONLY CAUSE OF THE CRISIS, BUT THIS CLEARLY ADMITTEDLY WAS A KEY CAUSE OF THE CRISIS, DISASTROUS POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION OF FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC. AS LAWRENCE WHITE, DISTINGUISHED ECONOMIC PROFESSOR, HAS SAID -- QUOTE -- "THE SILENCE ON FANNIE AND FREDDIE IS DEAFENING. HOW CAN THEY LOOK AT THEMSELVES IN THE MIRROR EVERY MORNING THINKING THAT THEY HAVE A REGULATORY REFORM BILL AND THEY ARE TOTALLY SILENT ON FANNIE AND FREDDIE? IT JUST BOGGLES MY MIND." CLOSE QUOTE. BOGGLES MY MIND AS WELL. AND ALSO NOTHING ON LENDING STANDARDS. MR. PRESIDENT, CLEARLY ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS THAT CAUSED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IS INSTITUTIONS WHICH LED, LENT MONEY, SUBPRIME LOANS WITH NO MEANINGFUL STANDARDS. AND SO, WHAT ARE THE NEW STANDARDS WE'RE ENACTING, PUTTING INTO THIS BILL? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. SILENCE ON LENDING STANDARDS, UNDERWRITING STANDARDS. CLEARLY A HUGE PART OF THE LAST CRISIS. WHERE IS THE CHANGE, MR. PRESIDENT? THESE ARE THE TOP FIRMS THAT GOT BAILOUT FUNDS, INCLUDING GOLDMAN SACHS. I VOTED AGAINST ALL OF THESE BAILOUTS. BUT THESE ARE THE FIRMS THAT GOT THEM. THESE ARE THE BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS THAT THEY RECEIVED. THIS IS THEIR OLD REGULATOR, THE FEDERAL RESERVE. AND THIS IS THE BRAVE NEW WORLD THAT THIS DODD BILL WOULD BE INTRODUCING. EXACTLY, PRECISELY THE SAME REGULATOR. WHERE IS THE CHANGE? MR. PRESIDENT, WE NEED MEANINGFUL FINANCIAL REFORM, BUT WE NEED IT TARGETED ON THE PROBLEM. WE NEED IT TO INCLUDE ALL THE CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM. AND THESE ARE KEY PRINCIPLES THAT THAT WOULD MEAN. PERMANENTLY ENDING BAILOUTS AND TOO BIG TO FAIL. I FOUGHT AGAINST THE BAILOUTS A FEW YEARS AGO. WE CAN'T CONTINUE THAT POLICY. WE NEED TO END IT. ENDING ALL BAILOUT AUTHORITI FOR THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND FDIC, IT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO JUST SAY WE HAVE A NEW RESOLUTION MECHANISM. IF THOSE BAILOUT AUTHORITIES CONTINUE AS THEY DO IN THE DODD BILL, THEY WILL BE USED AGAIN. ENHANCE CONSUMER PROTECTION WITHOUT OVERREACH, WITHOUT CREATING THIS NEW ALL-POWERFUL SUPER BUREAUCRACY. GREATER TRANSPARENCY FOR DERIVATIVES WHILE ALLOWING BUSINESSES TO PROPERLY, LEGITIMATELY MANAGE RISKS. BEGIN ADDRESSING FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC. AGAIN, THE CURRENT DODD BILL DOESN'T INCLUDE THE FOUR WORDS FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC. ESTABLISH MINIMUM LENDING STANDARDS FOR MORTGAGES. WE HAD SUBPRIMES WITH NO UNDERWRITING STANDARDS, NO LENDING STANDARDS. THIS PRESENT DODD BILL DOES NOT CHANGE THAT. WE MUST CHANGE THAT. INCREASE COMPETITION FOR CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. THEY WERE CLEARLY PART OF THE LAST CRISIS. AND IMPROVE COORDINATION AND COMMUNICATION AMONG ALL FINANCIAL FEDERAL REGULATORS. MR. PRESIDENT, THESE ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF STRONG REGULATORY REFORM. I HOPE THESE ARE THE PRINCIPLES AROUND WHICH WE CAN COME TOGETHER IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. I CERTAINLY SUPPORT THAT EFFORT BY RICHARD SHELBY AND CHAIRMAN DODD. I ENCOURAGE THAT EFFORT. BUT THOSE NEGOTIATIONS WILL NOT BE MEANINGFUL UNLESS WE DEMAND HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR THAT THEY BE MEANINGFUL AND DEMAND THAT A BILL MOVING TO THE SENATE FLOOR IS TRUE REFORM AND A BIPARTISAN APPROACH. I URGE THAT APPROACH, MR. PRESIDENT. I ENTHUSIASTICALLY SUPPORT THAT APPROACH. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 11:09:59 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 11:10:01 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    PRESIDENT, IN ABOUT ONE HOUR THE SENATE WILL CONVENE FOR A VOTE. IT'S ONE…

    PRESIDENT, IN ABOUT ONE HOUR THE SENATE WILL CONVENE FOR A VOTE. IT'S ONE OF THE FEW TIMES THIS WEEK THAT THE SENATE COMES TOGETHER. THOSE WHO ARE FOLLOWING OUR PROCEEDINGS WILL SEE SENATORS FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES GATHER ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THAT GATHERING WILL BE FOR A CRITICAL VOTE AS TO WHETHER THE REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER ON WALL STREET REFORM WILL CONTINUE OR END. THIS WILL BE THE THIRD TIME THIS WEEK WE HAVE GIVEN THE REPUBLICANS AN OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN US IN A BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO BRING REAL REFORM TO WALL STREET AND THE BIG BANKS ON WALL STREET. TWICE NOW WE HAVE FAILED TO GET A SINGLE REPUBLICAN WHO WILL STAND UP AND VOTE WITH US FOR WALL STREET REFORM. I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT. CERTAINLY THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH AS A NATION WITH THIS RECESSION. THEY REALIZE THAT SOME $16 TRILLION OF VALUE HAS BEEN YANKED OUT OF OUR ECONOMY, YANKED OUT OF SAVINGS ACCOUNTS AND 401(K)S AND OUT OF BUSINESS LEDGERS. THEY KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED AS THESE BUSINESSES HAVE FAILED AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE OUT OF WORK. AND THEY REALIZE THE ROOT CAUSE OF THIS WAS ON WALL STREET, WITH SOME OF THEIR DEALINGS THAT, FRANKLY, WERE OUTRAGEOUS. AND NOW WE'RE TRYING TO CHANGE IT. AND YET WE HAVE FAILED TO COME UP WITH ONE REPUBLICAN SENATOR WHO WILL VOTE TO BEGIN THE DEBATE ON WALL STREET REFORM. NOT ONE. A COLLEAGUE OF MINE ANALYZED WHAT WALL STREET IS DOING TO LOBBY AGAINST THIS BILL. HE TOOK THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT WALL STREET BANKS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE PAYING THEIR LOBBYISTS ON CAPITOL HILL AND DIVIDED IT AND CAME UP WITH A NUMBER. THEY ARE SPENDING $120,000 A DAY TO STOP WALL STREET REFORM. $120,000 A DAY. TWO TO TWO AND A HALF TIMES THE AVERAGE ANNUAL INCOME OF AN AMERICAN, THE WALL STREET BANKS ARE SPENDING EACH DAY TO STOP THIS BILL. SO FAR THEY HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL. THEY HAVE CONVINCED EVERY REPUBLICAN SENATOR TO VOTE AGAINST BEGINNING THE DEBATE ON THIS BILL. THEY HAVE CONVINCED EVERY REPUBLICAN SENATOR TO VOTE TO CONTINUE THE FILIBUSTER, BECAUSE THE WALL STREET LOBBYISTS KNOW THAT IF THIS BILL DOESN'T COME TO THE FLOOR, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS. THEY CAN KEEP DOING WHAT THEY'VE DONE FOR SO LONG, AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO FACE ANY NEW LAWS, ANY NEW OVERSIGHT, ANY NEW REGULATION. OF COURSE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENED TOO. THEY SAW THE HEARING YESTERDAY. SENATOR CARL LEVIN OF MICHIGAN WHO WAS JUST ON THE FLOOR PRESIDED OVER THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS, THE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY. CARL LEVIN TOLD ME THAT HE HAD WORKED FOR 16 MONTHS IN PREPARATION FOR THAT HEARING, TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITY OF WALL STREET AND HOW IT WORKS. HE BROUGHT IN THE HIGHEST EXECUTIVES FROM GOLDMAN SACHS AND ASKED THEM POINT-BLANK TO EXPLAIN WHAT THEY HAD BEEN DOING. WE SAW IT ON TELEVISION LAST NIGHT AND THIS MORNING. WHEN THE MEN WHO WERE CALLED BEFORE HIM WHO HAVE LITERALLY MADE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OUT OF THIS INVESTMENT SCHEME WERE ASKED TO EXPLAIN IT. SOMETHING AS BASIC AS THIS: HOW COULD THEY SELL A PRODUCT TO A CONSUMER AT GOLDMAN SACHS WITHOUT DISCLOSING THAT GOLDMAN SACHS WAS BETTING THAT CONSUMER WOULD LOSE MONEY? THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED. THEY WERE SO-CALLED SHORTING THE MARKET, MEANING THEY WERE BETTING HUGE SUMS OF MONEY THAT THE INVESTMENT THEY WERE SELLING TO THEIR CUSTOMERS WAS GOING TO FAIL. AND THESE MEN SAT BEFORE THAT COMMITTEE AND SAID THAT'S BUSINESS. THAT'S HOW WE DO BUSINESS. WELL, THAT'S THE SORT OF THING THAT HAS TO COME TO AN END IN THIS COUNTRY. THERE'S A MAN BY THE NAME OF PAUL KRUGMAN WHO WRITES FOR "THE NEW YORK TIMES," AND HE WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT GOLDMAN SACHS WHICH LED TO THEIR INVESTIGATION AS WELL AS CHARGES THAT HAVE BEEN LODGED AGAINST THEM, AND I'D LIKE TO READ FROM THIS ARTICLE FROM APRIL 19 OF THIS YEAR. WHERE MR. KRUGMAN SAYS WE'VE KNOWN FOR SOME TIME THAT GOLDMAN SACHS AND OTHER FIRMS MARKETED MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES EVEN AS THEY SOUGHT TO MAKE PROPERTIES LIKE BETTING THAT SUCH SECURITIES WOULD PLUNGE IN VALUE. THIS PRACTICE, HOWEVER, WHILE ARGUABLY REPREHENSIBLE, WASN'T ILLEGAL. NOW THE S.E.C. IS CHARGING THAT GOLDMAN CREATED AND MARKETED SECURITIES THAT WERE DELIBERATELY DESIGNED TO FAIL SO THAT AN IMPORTANT CLIENT COULD MAKE MONEY OFF THAT FAILURE. KRUGMAN WRITES, "THAT'S WHAT I CALL LOOTING." HE GOES ON TO SAY THAT THIS LEGISLATION THAT WE ARE CONSIDERING CONTAINS CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION, THE STRONGEST LAW IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. AND HERE'S WHAT KRUGMAN WRITES, "FOR ONE THING, AN INDEPENDENT CONSUMER PROTECTION BUREAU COULD HAVE HELPED LIMIT PREDATORY LENDING. ANOTHER PROVISION IN THE PROPOSED SENATE BILL BEFORE US BEING FILIBUSTERED BY THE REPUBLICANS REQUIRED THAT LENDERS OBTAIN 5% OF THE VALUE OF LOANS THEY MAKE, WOULD HAVE LIMITED THE PRACTICE OF MAKING BAD LOANS AND QUICKLY SELL THEM OFF TO UNWARY INVESTORS." HE GOES ON TO WRITE "THE MAIN MORAL YOU SHOULD DRAW FROM THE CHARGES AGAINST GOALMAN, THOUGH, DOESN'T INVOLVE THE FINE PRINT OF REFORM. IT INVOLVES THE URGENT NEED TO CHANGE WALL STREET. LISTENING TO FINANCIAL INDUSTRIAL LOBBYISTS AND THE REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS WHO HAVE BEEN HUDDLING WITH THEM, YOU'D THINK THAT EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE AS LONG AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROMISES NOT TO DO ANY MORE BAILOUTS. BUT THAT'S TOTALLY WRONG, AND NOT JUST BECAUSE NO SUCH PROMISE WILL BE CREDIBLE. FOR THE FACT IS THAT MUCH OF THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY HAS BECOME A RACKET, A GAME IN WHICH A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE ARE LAVISHLY PAID TO MISLEAD AND EXPLOIT CONSUMERS AND INVESTORS. AND IF WE DON'T LOWER THE BOOM ON THESE PRACTICES, THE RACQUET WILL JUST GO ON." EVERY DAY THAT THE REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER OF WALL STREET REFORM CONTINUES IS ANOTHER DAY THAT WE WILL FAIL TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THIS BILL, THIS FINANCIAL STABILITY ACT, WHICH IS PENDING BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE. EACH DAY THAT THE REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER CONTINUES IS A VICTORY FOR THE WALL STREET LOBBYISTS. THAT'S JUST WRONG. HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE RECESSION THAT WE'RE IN? HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE HEARING YESTERDAY WHEN THESE MEN, THESE MULTIMILLIONAIRES WHO PAY THEMSELVES LAVISHLY. SAT AND SAID THEY THOUGHT IT WAS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO SELL A PRODUCT TO ONE OF THEIR CUSTOMERS THAT THEY WERE BETTING WOULD FAIL WITH THEIR OWN MONEY? THEY THINK THAT'S JUST FINE. IT'S PART OF THE CASINO THAT THEY RUN ON WAWVMENT WELL, JOHN ENSIGN OF NEVADA TOOK EXCEPTION TO THAT AND SAID, THAT GIVES LAS VEGAS CASINOS A BAD NAME, BECAUSE WE DEAL WITH THINGS HONESTLY AND PEOPLE KNOW THE ODDS ARE AGAINST THEM. IT'S NOT LIKE THE SITUATION ON WALL STREET WHERE PEOPLE ARE MISLED INTO BELIEVING THEY'RE MAKING A GOOD BET WHEN THE HOUSE IS BETTING AGAINST THEM. AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED AT GOLDMAN SACHS. AND THAT'S THE SORT OF THING THAT WILL COME TO AN END. WHAT THIS BILL DOES IS TO HOLD WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE. WE'RE FIGHTING TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE RECKLESS GAMBLING THAT LED TO OUR RECESSION AND THE LOSS OF 8 MILLION JOBS IN AMERICA -- 8 MILLION, 8 MILLION FAMILIES AFFECTED BY THESE ACTIVITIES ON WALL STREET. AND THE REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER WOULD STOP US FROM EVEN CONSIDERING CHANGES TO THE REGULATION AND OVERSIGHT OF WALL STREET ACTIVITIES. WE WANT TO END TAXPAYER BAILOUTS FOR GOOD. I LISTENED TO THE CRITICISM OF THIS BILL, AND I TRY TO DRAW AN ANALOGY, WHICH I HEARD SENATOR MENENDEZ OF NEW JERSEY DO. WHAT WE TRY TO DO IN THIS BILL IS TO CREATE, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM -- UNDER SENATOR MENENDEZ'S ANALYSIS -- A PREPAID BURIAL PLAN. AND WHEN IT BASICALLY A MEANS IS IF YOUR COMPANY, FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, IS GOING TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE PUT ENOUGH MONEY IN THE BANK TO PAY FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES, THE WINDING DOWN AND LIQUIDATION OF THE COMPANY. BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER TO $IT. THIS BILL CREATES A SO-CALLED CORPORATE FUNERAL FUND AND SAYS LET THE BANKS THEMSELVES FUND SO THAT THE TAXPAYERS DON'T HAVE TO. I THINK THAT'S REASONABLE. THE REPUBLICAN APPROACH, THOUGH, IS TO SAY, LET'S JUST BET THERE'S ENOUGH MONEY IN THE ESTATE TO PAY FOR THE FUNERAL. MAYBE THERE WILL BE AND MAYBE THERE WON'T BE N THAT CASE, THE TRANSPARENCE ON THE HOOK AGAIN. THAT'S NOT A GOOD OUTCOME. SO TRYING TO CREATE SOME ASSURANCE THAT THERE'S MONEY TO LIQUIDATE AND WIND DOWN THESE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS PROTECTS TAXPAYERS FROM ANOTHER BAILOUT. THE REPUBLICANS OBJECT TO THAT, BUT THEY'VE NOT COME UP WITH A BETTER SOLUTION. THE THIRD THING WE WANT TO DO IS TO PUT CUSTOMERS AND CONSUMERS IN CONTROL IN AMERICA. I DON'T HAVE TO REMIND MOST PEOPLE, IF YOU OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT, IF YOU ENTER INTO A MORTGAGE, IF YOU DECIDE TO SIGN UP FOR A CREDIT CARD, GO OUT TO BUY AN AUTOMOBILE, SIGN UP FOR A STUDENT LOAN, SIGN UP FOR A RETIREMENT PLAN, THEY USUALLY SEND YOU SOME LEGAL DOCUMENTS ALONG THE WAY. AT A REAL ESTATE CLOSING -- AND I HAVE BEEN TO PLENTY OF THEM AS A CONSUMER AND LAWYER -- THEY GIVE YOU A STOCK OF PAPERS. AND YOU SIT THERE AT THE BANK WITH YOUR SPOUSE NEARBY, SIGNING THESE PAPERS ONE AFTER THE OTHER AFTER THE OTHER UNTIL AFTER 20 OR 30 MINUTES IT'S ALL OVER, THEY HANDS THE CHECK AND HEAD ON OUT TO SEE YOUR NEW HOUSE. WELL, MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S IN THOSE PAPERS, FEIGN A LAWYER IS SITTING AT THE TABLE WITH THEM, IT'S UNLIKELY THAT THEY'VE PARSED EVERY SINGLE WORD. AND, AS A RESULT, A LOT OF PEOPLE END UP SIGNING UP FOR THINGS THAT THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND. WE WANT TO CHANGE THAT. I DON'T THINK IT'S TOO MUCH TO ASK THAT THESE FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AND INSTRUMENTS BE IN PLAIN ENGLISH, SO THE AVERAGE PERSON KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE GETTING INTO. WHAT WE WANT TO DO IN THIS BILL IS TO EMPOWER CONSUMERS SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR FUTURE. WE DON'T WANT YOU TO FALL VICTIM TO THE TRICKS AND TRAPS OF THE LATEST LITTLE TURN OF A PHRASE THAT COULD TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. THAT'S WHAT THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION LAW IS INCLUDED IN THIS BILL. IT IS THE STRONGEST CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION LAW IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. NOW, THERE ARE LOBBYISTS LINED UP OUTSIDE THIS CHAMBER TRYING TO CARVE OUT EXCEPTIONS. THEY'RE TRYING TO ARGUE, WAIT A MINUTE. WE DON'T WANT THIS TO APPLY TO PAWNPAWNBROKERS. LET'S GIVE THEM A PASS. WE DON'T WANT THIS TO APPLY TO CASINOS. LET'S GIVE THEM A PASS. WE DON'T WANT THIS TO APPLY TO AUTO AGENCIES. LET'S GIVE THEM A PASS. THEY WANT TO HAVE LOOPHOLES AND CARVE-OUTS FOR THE FAVORITE INDUSTRIES THEY REPRESENT. I WAS AT THE AIRPORT COMING OUT HERE THIS WEEK AND ONE OF THESE FOLKS, GOOD LOCAL BUSINESSMAN IN THE SUBURBS OF CHICAGO, CAME UP AND SAID, I AM AN HONEST BUSINESSMAN. I DIDN'T CAUSE THE RECESSION. I'VE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM IN MY LIFE. PEOPLE DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT ME. THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU GIVES ME THE HIGH ET OF MARKS. WHY SHOULD I BE REGULATED? WHY SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT LOOK WHAT THE I'M DOING? AND I SAID TO HIM, IF YOU'RE DOING EVERYTHING YOU SAID, YOU SHOULDN'T WORRY ABOUT IT. WHAT YOU OUGHT TO WORRY ABOUT IS YOUR COMPETITOR DOWN THE STREET WHO IS FLEECING PEOPLE AND GIVING PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY A BAD NAME. THESE CARVE-OUTS AND CHANGES IS THE REASON THEY'RE HOLDING UP THE BILL. THEY HAVE PROMISED THE LOBBYISTS THEY WILL CUT OUT LOOPHOLES IN THIS BILL FOR THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS THAT ARE REPRESENTED BY THEM. THEY WILL EXEMPT THE AUTOMOBILE DEALERS, THEY WOULD -- SOME OF THEM WERE EXEMPT THE HOME LOAN INDUSTRY, SOME OF THEM WOULD EXEMPT PAWNBROKERS -- THE EXEMPTIONS COULD BE AS LONG AS YOUR ARM, EXEMPTIONS AS LONG AT LIST OF LOBBYISTS WHO ARE TRYING TO PUSH THESE LOOPHOLES. I DON'T THINK THAT'S A GOOD OUTCOME. I DON'T REALLY BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD BE CREATING LOBBYIST LOOPHOLES IN THIS LAW. LET US HOLD EVERYONE TO THE SAME LEGAL STANDARD, A GOOD-FAITH STANDARD OF REAL DISCLOSURE AND HONEEST DEALING WITH CONSUMERS. -- AND HONEST DEALING WITH CONSUMERS. CLEAR ENGLISH LANGUAGE WHETHER YOU'RE TAKING OUT A CREDIT CARD, BUYING A CARKS BUYING A HOME, A STUDENT LOAN OR A RETIREMENT BENEFIT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. SHOULDN'T THE LANGUAGE BE CLEAR? WE'VE GOT TO MAKE THAT CLEAR AS PART OF THIS. AND AT SOME POINT I HOPE THE REPUBLICANS, WHO ARE FILIBUSTERING THIS WALL STREET REFORM, WILL DECIDE IF THEY HAVE A GOOD CAUSE AND THEY WANT TO BRING IT TO THE FLOOR THAT THEY CAN OPEN UP THE DEBATE, PLEAD THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY, URGE THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE TO GO ALONG WITH YOU. IF A MAJORITY AGREES, IT WILL BE IN THE BILL. IF NOT, IT WILL BE OUTSIDE THE BILL. IF THAT SOUNDS VAGUELY FAMILIAR -- LIKE THE UNITED STATES SENATE YOU READ ABOUT WHEN YOU WERE GOING TO SCHOOL -- IT IS. IT'S WHAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. THIS ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE AN EMPTY CHAMBER OF DESKS HERE WAITING, AS WE LUMP DAY TO DAY TO -- AS WE LUNCH DAY TO DAY TO ANOTHER -- AS WE L. RUVMENT CH DAY TO DAY TO ANOTHER ISSUE. THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO FILIBUSTER, STOP THE DEBATE, REFUSE TO GO TO AMENDMENTS. REFUSE TO TAKE THEIR SPECIAL PLEADINGS ON WHAT THEY WANT TO ACHIEVE IN THIS BILL TO THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION. THAT'S NOT FAIR AND IT'S NOT RIGHT. AND IT'S ALSO INTERESTING THAT WHEN WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE, HOW MANY TIMES THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE STOOD UP AND SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS HERE? THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO WRITE THIS BILL BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. THEY WON'T BRING IT OUT TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. NOW FAST-FORWARD TO THE CURRENT DEBATE AND WHAT ARE THE REPUBLICANS SAYING? YOU KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS HERE? THE DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO CHANGE THIS BILL BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. THEY WANT TO AMEND IT RIGHT HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THEY'RE IN AN INCONSISTENT POSITION F THEY BELIEVE THAT THESE AMENDMENTS ARE GOOD AMENDMENTS, THEY SHOULDN'T BE AFRAID TO OFFER THEM IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT IF THEY WANT TO COOK A DEAL BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, I HAD I DO HAVE SOME PROBLEMS WITH THAT. I THINK IF THEY HAVE A GOOD CAUSE, THEY SHOULD BRING IT TO THE FLOOR AND DEAL WITH IT. I THINK SUNLIGHT AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE SHADOWY MARKETS OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE NOT GOOD FOR THIS COUNTRY -- SHADOWY INSTITUTIONS ARE NOT AND SUNLIGHT IS GOOD, TRANSPARENCY IS GOOD. I THINK IT'S TIME THAT WE STAND UP FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND SAY THAT RECKLESS GAMBLING ON WALL STREET WITH THE FUTURE OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. SOME OF THEM ARC YOU KNOW, LET'S GO AFTER THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. LET'S NOT BLAME THE BILL PEOPLE -- THE LITTLE PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THE CREDIT BUSINESS. THERE WAS AN ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TILES ON SUNDAY, APRIL 18 -- IN "THE NEW YORK TIMES" ON SUNDAY, APRIL 18 BY JIM DWYER. HE WAS TALKING ABOUT CREDIT CARD COMPANIES TURNING A $2.50 SLICE OF PIZZA INTO A $37.50 SLICE. THEY DID IT, OF COURSE, WHEN THEY BOUGHT A SLICE OF PIZZA WITH A DEBIT CARD THAT WAS OVER THE LIMIT AND THE PENALTY WAS $35. AND THE QUESTION WAS ON THAT FEE, WERE THE PEOPLE NOTIFIED AHEAD OF TIME WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO FACE? I DON'T THINK IT'S UNFAIR TO NOTIFY PEOPLE WHAT THEY HAVE TO PAY. I THINK THIS KIND OF DISCLOSURE IS IMPORTANT TO THE CONFIDENCE IN OUR ECONOMY. AND I'M YOUR YOUR URGING MY COLLEAGUES TO STAND UP AND JOIN US AND MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO BRING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR. IN LESS THAN ONE HOUR, THIS EMPTY FLOOR WILL BE FILLED WITH SENATORS, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. WE NEED 60 SENATORS TO STEP UP AND SAY, THIS RECESSION HAS TAUGHT US A LESSON. WE'RE NOT IS GOING TO LET AMERICA GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN BECAUSE OF THE GREED AND MALPRACTICE OF THOSE ON WALL STREET AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE THIS SYSTEM. WE'RE GOING TO REQUIRE THEM TO BE MORE TRANSPARENT, MORE ACCOUNTABLE, PUT THEIR OWN MONEY ON THE TABLE AND BE HONEST WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS. WE'RE GOING TO REQUIRE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO MAKE FULL DISCLOSURE TO THE PEOPLE THEY DEAL WITH SO THAT THOSE CUSTOMERS CAN BE EMPOWERED TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES. WE'RE NOT GOING TO EXCLUDE CERTAIN BUSINESSES IN AMERICA AND SAY THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY'D LIKE WHEN WHAT'S AT STAKE IS THE FINANCIAL SECURITY OF A FAMILY. EVERYBODY IS GOING TO BE HELD TO THE SAME BASIC STANDARD OF HONESTY, A STANDARD WHICH GOOD BUSINESSES LIVE UP TO EVERY SINGLE DAY. I URGE THE GOOD BUSINESSES ACROSS AMERICA NOT TO STAND IN DEFENSE OF THE BOTTOM FEEDERS. I URGE THEM TO STAND UP FOR GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES WHICH ARE PART OF THE FREE MARKET SYSTEM AND HAVE MADE OUR NATION SO STRONG, AS THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT HAS BLOSSOMED INTO MORE JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. THAT SPIRIT NEEDS TO BE REGAINED. THE CONFIDENCE NEEDS TO BE REGAINED. THE EMBARRASSING CHAPTER YESTERDAY IN THE COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY WHEN THESE WALL STREET TITANS CAME IN AND SAID THEY SAW NOTHING WRONG WITH MISLEADING THEIR CUSTOMERS INTO MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF LOSSES HAS TO COME TO AN END. IT WILL ONLY END WHEN THE REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER ENDS ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. I WILL HOPE AT 12:20 WHEN THIS VOTE BEGINS THAT AT LEAST A HANDFUL OF REPUBLICANS WILL STAND UP AND SAY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. LET'S MOVE FORWARD WITH REFORM. LET'S MOVE FORWARD TO PUTTING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 11:28:30 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 11:29:37 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED. OFFICER WITHOUT…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED. OFFICER WITHOUT OBJECTION.

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  • 11:29:41 AM

    MR. DURBIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:29:49 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 11:29:52 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

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  • 11:30:16 AM

    Quorum Call

  • 11:48:12 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IOWA.

  • 11:48:15 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    I ASK CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED…

    I ASK CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

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  • 11:48:19 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION. MORNING BUSINESS IS CLOSED. UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE SENATE WILL RESUME CONSIDERATION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 3217, WHICH THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

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  • 11:48:31 AM

    THE CLERK

    MOTION TO PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. 3217, AN ORIGINAL BILL TO…

    MOTION TO PROCEED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF S. 3217, AN ORIGINAL BILL TO PROMOTE THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 11:48:42 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE TIME UNTIL 12:20 P.M. WILL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED…

    UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER THE TIME UNTIL 12:20 P.M. WILL BE EQUALLY DIVIDED AND CONTROLLED BETWEEN THE TWO LEADERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES. THE SENATOR FROM IOWA IS RECOGNIZED.

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  • 11:48:55 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT CURTIS STURGALL BE GRANTED FOR FLOOR PRIVILEGES…

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT CURTIS STURGALL BE GRANTED FOR FLOOR PRIVILEGES FOR THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS.

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  • 11:49:03 AM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 11:49:05 AM

    MR. HARKIN

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY IN THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS…

    MR. PRESIDENT, YESTERDAY IN THE PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS CHAIRED BY THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN, SENATOR LEVIN, WE LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE RECKLESS ACTIONS OF TRADERS AND EXECUTIVES AT GOLDMAN SACHS. NOW GOLDMAN SACHS WAS HARDLY THE ONLY BAD ACTOR IN BRINGING OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM TO THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE IN 2008. TRADERS AND EXECUTIVES AT MANY OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS GOT FABULOUSLY WEALTHY BY GAMING THE UNREGULATED CASINOS ON WALL STREET. THEY WALKED AWAY WITH FORTUNES EVEN AS MILLIONS OF AMERICANS LOST THEIR JOBS, THEIR SAVINGS AND THEIR HOMES. YET, AS WE WITNESSED IN YESTERDAY'S HEARING, WALL STREET REMAINS QUITE ARROGANT AND QUITE UNREPENTANT AND QUITE UNWILLING TO CHANGE ITS WAYS. IT HAS THE GALL TO BELIEVE THAT IT SHOULD REMAIN FREE TO DO BUSINESS AS USUAL. TO THAT END I AM TOLD IT HAS MOBILIZED A LEGION OF LOBBISTS, AN ESTIMATED 1,500 OF THEM TO TRY TO KILL, WATER DOWN OR STOP THE FINANCIAL REGULATION REFORM FROM COMING TO THE FLOOR. IT'S DEEPLY UNFORTUNATE THAT EVERY ONE OF OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE -- EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN HAS JOINED WITH WALL STREET IN OBSTRUCTING THIS LEGISLATION. EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN, NOT JUST FILIBUSTERING THE BILL, BUT PREVENTING IT FROM EVEN COMING TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE, AN AMENDMENT. THEY KEEP SAYING THEY WANT TO IMPROVE THE BILL. WELL, IS THAT NOT WHAT THE DEBATE AND AMENDMENT PROCESS IS ABOUT? IF SOMEONE HAS A BETTER IDEA, OFFER IT AS AN AMENDMENT. LET'S DEBATE IT. MAYBE IT IS BETTER. MAYBE WE'LL ADOPT IT. MAYBE WE WON'T. IT SEEMS THAT'S THE WAY WE SHOULD CONDUCT THE BUSINESS HERE ON THE SENATE FLOOR. I SAY TO MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, SENATOR DODD AND SENATOR LINCOLN HAVE BENT OVER BACKWARDS. THEY HAVE DEVELOPED GOOD, SOLID COMMONSENSE LEGISLATION. WELL, BUT IF PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WANT SOME CHANGES, THAT'S WHAT THE AMENDMENT PROCESS IS FOR. WE'RE NOT CUTTING OFF ANYONE. WE THE WANT TO BRING THE BILL UP, IT'S OPEN FOR AMENDMENT. WHY ARE THE REPUBLICANS SO AFRAID OF OFFERING AMENDMENTS ON THE FLOOR? IF THEY'VE GOT A BETTER IDEA ON HOW WE SHOULD DO THIS? IT'S A BITTER IRONY, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT EVEN AS WE'VE SPENT A FORTUNE IN TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO -- TO RESCUE THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM, THE SELF-APPOINTED MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE ON WALL STREET REWARDED THEMSELVES WITH BILLIONS IN BONUSES AND THEY'VE GEARED UP TO FIGHT THE EFFORTS HERE TO PREVENT -- TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN. WELL, IT SEEMS THAT WALL STREET IS ALL TOO USED TO LIVING A DIFFERENT LIFE, PLAYING BY DIFFERENT RULES THAN THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. NOWHERE IS THIS DISCONNECT BETWEEN WALL STREET AND MAIN STREET IS MORE STARK THAN IN THE AREA OF COMPENSATION MUCH OVER THE LAST DECADE COMPENSATION IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR HAS SKYROCKETED WITH SOME EXECUTIVES WALKING AWAY WITH ANNUAL COMPENSATIONS OF HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVEN AS THE INFLATION ADJUSTED INCOMES OF ORDINARY WORKING AMERICANS HAVE REMAINED STATIC. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS CHART TRACES THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY PROFITS AS A SHARE OF DOMESTIC PROFITS SINCE 1948. FROM 1948 UNTIL ABOUT 1980 YOU CAN SEE IT REMAIN FAIRLY STABLE. LITTLE BUMPS UP, LITTLE THINGS DOWN, LITTLE BUMPS UP, BUT BASICALLY STAYED PRETTY EVEN. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 8% AND 18%. SO SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 8% AND 18% OF ALL DOMESTIC PROFITS IN THIS COUNTRY, THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY, ALL THE PROFITS MADE, ABOUT 8% TO 18% WAS TAKEN BY THE FINANCIAL SECTOR ON WALL STREET. BUT STARTING IN 1984 FINANCIAL PROFITS BEGAN TO RISE DRAMATICALLY. YOU CAN SEE IT HERE GOING UP. IN 2001 FINANCIAL INDUSTRY PROFITS WERE ALMOST 45% OF ALL DOMESTIC PROFITS IN AMERICA. ALMOST HALF. 45%. UP FROM ABOUT 8% TO 18%. TODAY, DESPITE THE 2008 MELTDOWN, THEY'RE BACK ABOVE 35%. 35% OF ALL OF THE PROFITS MADE IN AMERICA GOING TO WALL STREET. GOING TO THE FINANCIAL SECTOR. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS -- THIS IS A CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH UNPRECEDENTED IN OUR HISTORY. EVEN WORSE THAN BEFORE 1929. WORSE THAN BEFORE 1929. NOW, THE SECOND CHART HERE CONTRASTS THIS EXPLOSION OF WEALTH ON WALL STREET TO WHAT HAPPENED TO ORDINARY AMERICANS ON MAIN STREET. FROM 1990, WHICH WE HAVE RIGHT ABOUT RIGHT IN HERE -- WELL, I CAN'T READ IT MYSELF HERE. 1990 TO 2008 REAL MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME STAG MATED AT ABOUT $50,000. RIGHT IN HERE. JUST STAG MATED. SINCE 2000, REAL MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOMES HAVE ACTUALLY FALLEN. SO FROM ABOUT 1990 TO TODAY REAL MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOMES STAG MATED AND ACTUALLY -- NAG NATURED AND ACTUALLY -- STAGNATED AND HAVE ACTUALLY FALLEN. STAGNATED AND NOW IT HAS FALLEN DOWN. THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD IN AMERICA. THE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD IN AMERICA. WELL, LET'S SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO OUR FRIENDS ON WALL STREET THEN. WELL, LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENED ON WALL STREET. WELL, JUST AS WE WERE STAGNATING AND MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME FROM ABOUT 1990 ON, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO THE THE AVERAGE WALL STREET BONUS. HUGE. WALL STREET COMPENSATION SKYROCKETED NEARLY 300% DURING THIS PERIOD OF TIME. SINCE 1990, THE AVERAGE WALL STREET BONUS -- I'M NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT SALARY, I'M TALKING ABOUT BONUSES -- SOARED FROM ABOUT $50,000 IN THE EARLY 1990'S TO THE $200,000 IN 1996. NOW, GO OUT TO TALK TO OUR CONSTITUENTS AND THE MAIN STREET BUSINESS PEOPLE THAT RUN OUR SHOPS AND TALK TO ANYBODY OUT IN AMERICA TODAY. DID THEIR INCOME INCREASE 300% DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME? NO. IT STAYED LEVEL. BUT LOOK AT THE BONUSES. AND THAT'S JUST THE BONUSES. I'M NOT TALKING EVEN ABOUT THEIR SALARIES. THIS IS BONUSES. WELL, I DWELL ON THIS AND I POINT THIS OUT, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE I THINK IT POINTS TO A LARGER ISSUE. IN MY VIEW A BIG REASON FOR THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE OF 2008 IS THAT THINGS GOT OUT OF BALANCE AND THEY GOT OUT OF WHACK. AS GLASS-STEAGALL WAS REPEALED, AND I MIGHT SAY THIS FORTHRIGHTLY, THERE WERE EIGHT SENATORS ON THIS FLOOR THAT VOTED AGAINST THE REPEAL OF GLASS-STEAGALL. AND I'M PROUD TO SAY I WAS ONE OF THEM. BUT I REMEMBER AT THAT TIME SAYING, WAIT A MINUTE, THERE IS A REASON WHY IN THE 1930'S UNDER PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT THAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE THIS HAPPENING AGAIN. SO WE SAID TO COMMERCIAL BANKS, IF YOU WANT TO BE A BANK AND TAKE BANK DEPOSITS, FINE, YOU CAN BE A BANK, BUT YOU CAN'T DO INSURANCE AND YOU CAN'T DO INVESTMENTS. YOU CAN'T DO SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES AND ALL THAT STUFF, YOU'RE A COMMERCIAL BANK. AND, FOR THAT, WE GIVE YOU FDIC PROTECTION. WE ALSO GIVE YOU FEDERAL RESERVE PROTECTION. WE SAID TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY, IF YOU WANT TO BE AN INSURANCE COMPANY, FINE, BUT YOU CAN'T BE A BANK. WE SAID TO INVESTMENT HOUSE, IF YOU WANT TO TAKE MONEY IN TO INVEST, FINE, BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE DEPOSITS. YOU'RE NOT A DEPOSITRY BANKS. YOU DON'T GET THE PROTECTION OF FDIC. IN 1999 THIS CONGRESS REPEALED THAT. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. I SAID AT THE TIME AND THE RECORD WILL SHOW I SAID IT, I SAID I HOPE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN. I HOPE -- I HOPE ALL THESE SMART PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING, BUT I DON'T TRUST THEM. I DON'T TRUST THEM. AS YOU'RE GOING TO START HAVING A LOT OF FUNNY GAMES PLAYING. IN THE LAST 10 YEARS WE SAW THE GAMES THEY PLAYED. WELL, THE SPECIAL INTEREST AFTER -- AFTER GLASS-STEAGALL WAS REPEALED, THEY ATTACKED THE VERY IDEA OF GOVERNMENT REGULATION, THE S.E.C., OTHER WATCHDOG AGENCIES JUST STARTED DOING NOTHING. WALL STREET STEPPED INTO THE VOID, NOW THEY HAVE ALL THE PROTECTIONS WE CONSUMERS AND OTHER CONSUMERS HAD UNDER GLASS-STEAGALL WAS GONE. AND SO WHAT THEY DID, THEY JUST DROVE OUR ECONOMY OFF A CLIFF. AND ORDINARY HARD-WORK RGING AMERICANS HAD TO PICK UP THE TAB. THAT'S WHY WE NEED THIS SERIOUS FINANCIAL REFORM. AS OTHERS HAVE NOTED, AND I SAY, AGAIN, FINANCIAL CRISES IN THIS COUNTRY SHOULDN'T BE LOOKED UPON AS -- AS FLOODS THAT JUST COME EVERY 10 YEARS. OR SOME KIND OF NATURAL DISASTER THAT YOU SORT OF ACCEPT. THAT EVERY SO OFTEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A FLOOD OR WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A HURRICANE HIT THE COAST OR WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A DROUGHT SOMEPLACE. FINANCIAL COLLAPSES THAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST, THESE ARE NOT PREORDAINED -- HAPPENING TO OUR SYSTEM. THEY HAPPENED BECAUSE WE LET PEOPLE RUN AMOK WITH LARGE SUMS OF MONEY, GAMBLE IT. SOME GET FABULOUSLY RICH. SOME GET FABULOUSLY RICH. BUT THEN THEY JUST DRIVE THE ECONOMY OFF A CLIFF. SO JUST, AGAIN, SO WHAT WE DO TO PROTECT OURSELVES AGAINST FLOODS, WHAT DO WE DO? WELL, WE DO A LOT OF UPLAND TREATMENTS, WE BUILD DAMS, WE BUILD LEVEES, WE DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS TO PROTECT OURSELVES. THERE ARE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM FINANCIAL COLLAPSE TOO. IT'S JUST PUTTING INTO PLACE THE KINDS OF OVERSIGHT AND TRANSPARENCY AND REGULATIONS THAT ALLOW OUR CAPITALIST SYSTEM TO OPERATE BUT TO OPERATE WITHIN SOME BOUNDS, OPERATE WITHIN SOME BOUNDS. I DON'T THINK ANYONE IS IN FAVOR OF WHAT WE MIGHT CALL UNBRIDLED CAPITALISM, THE KIND THAT WE HAD IN THE 19th CENTURY, THE LATE PART OF THE 20th CENTURY. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY WANTS TO GO BACK TO THOSE DAYS. YES, WE BELIEVE IN A CAPITALIST SYSTEM WHERE PEOPLE CAN TAKE THEIR SAVINGS AND INVEST IT AND MAKE THEIR MONEY WORK FOR THEM, LOAN IT OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE SO OTHER PEOPLE CAN START BUSINESSES. THAT'S THE CAPITALIST MODEL. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. BUT SHOULD WE LET PEOPLE TAKE OUR MONEY THAT WE HAVE SAVED UP FOR PENSIONS, FOR EXAMPLE, OR OTHER KINDS OF INVESTMENTS AND TAKE THOSE AND SORT OF GO TO LAS VEGAS? I DON'T THINK SO. WE WANT SOME RULES AND REGULATIONS SO THEY CAN MAKE PRUDENT INVESTMENTS, SO THOSE INVESTMENTS CAN BE USED TO START BUSINESSES TO INVEST IN ECONOMIC GROWTH ON A BROAD BASIS, BUT NOT TO BE USED FOR SPECULATION, NOT TO BE USED FOR JUST GROSS SPECULATION ON WALL STREET. SO THAT'S WHY WE NEED THIS FINANCIAL REFORM BILL THAT WE HAVE THAT WE'RE TRYING TO GET UP HERE ON THE FLOOR. IT WILL GUARD AGAINST FUTURE MASSIVE MELTDOWNS THAT ALWAYS COST US, ALWAYS COST US, NOT ONLY SO MUCH MONEY BUT JUST IN RUINED LIVES, RUINED LIVES. AND BY ALL MEANS, THE STRONG FINANCIAL REFORM MUST INCLUDE REGULATIONS OF THE DERIVATIVES MARKET. THIS IS SOMETHING, MR. PRESIDENT, I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN FOR A LONG TIME ON THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE THROUGH ALL THE YEARS I HAVE SERVED THERE WITH THE COMMODITY FUTURES, TRADING COMMISSION. AND HAVING SOME -- LOOKING AT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE DERIVATIVES MARKETS, AND I'M PLEASED TO SAY THAT THE LEGISLATION THAT WE'RE TRYING TO BRING UP HERE INCLUDES THE PROVISIONS THAT PASSED OUT OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF OUR CHAIRMAN, SENATOR LINCOLN. DERIVATIVES CONTRACTS HAVE BEEN AT THE HEART OF THE WALL STREET'S FINANCIAL MANIPULATION. FROM DECEMBER, 2000, TO JUNE, 2008, THE HEIGHT OF THE WALL STREET BOOM, THE FACE VALUE -- THEY SAY THAT NOTIONAL VALUE, NOTIONAL VALUE. FACE VALUE OF OVER-THE-COUNTER DERIVATIVES GREW FROM FROM $95 BILLION IN 2000 TO TO $683 TRILLION IN 2008. THERE WAS REALLY NOTHING UNDERLYING THIS, OTHER THAN PEOPLE JUST SHIFTING THINGS BACK AND FORTH AND BETTING ON THEM BACK AND FORTH. BUT THERE WAS NOTHING UNDERLYING THIS. NOW, I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR, PEOPLE SAY ARE YOU AGAINST ALL DERIVATIVES? I SAY NO. THERE ARE BASIC DERIVATIVES THAT CAN BE HEALTHY FOR OUR ECONOMY AND FOR INDIVIDUALS. BUSINESSES TO THE FARMS TO INDIVIDUALS. I ALWAYS POINT OUT THE CLASSIC DERIVATIVE IS LIKE AN INDIVIDUAL BUYS A HOME. THEY BUY THEIR HOME, THEY BUY A NEW HOUSE, IT'S THEIR HOME. THEY PUT THEIR MONEY DOWN, THEY HAVE A BIG MORTGAGE, THEY'RE GOING TO PAY IT OFF. A LOT OF TIMES, PEOPLE WILL GET A LITTLE INSURANCE. IT'S CALLED HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE, THAT IF YOU DIE, YOUR MORTGAGE WILL BE PAID FOR. A LOT OF US -- I REMEMBER WHEN WE BOUGHT OUR HOUSE, WE BOUGHT THAT KIND OF INSURANCE. THAT'S A DERIVATIVE. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I BUY SOME INSURANCE TO PROTECT MY FAMILY. FARMERS USE DERIVATIVES. BUSINESSES USE THEM TO PROTECT AGAINST CURRENCY FLUCTUATIONS, THINGS LIKE THAT. THAT'S FINE. THESE ARE BASIC DERIVATIVES. MR. PRESIDENT, SINCE I SEE NO ONE ELSE ON THE FLOOR, I ASK FOR ANOTHER SEVEN MINUTES.

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  • 12:04:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:04:35 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    THANK YOU. SO LIKE I SAID, I HAVE NO OBJECTION TO THE BASIC DERIVATIVES.…

    THANK YOU. SO LIKE I SAID, I HAVE NO OBJECTION TO THE BASIC DERIVATIVES. IT'S WHEN THESE DERIVATIVES GET OUT OF HAND. IT'S WHEN YOU HAVE A DERIVATIVE ON A DERIVATIVE ON A DERIVATIVE AND ON AND ON AND ON, AND THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE DERIVATIVES MARKETS. THESE BECOME JUST LITTLE GAMBLING THINGS. THERE ARE INSTANCES OF DERIVATIVES PASSING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN SPECULATORS TWO OR THREE OR FOUR TIMES A DAY, ON SMALL MARGINS, SMALL,.1%, MAYBE .01% MARGINS, BUT ON BIG POOLS OF MONEY, BIG POOLS, PURE SPECULATION. WELL, SO DESPITE THE YOUTHFULNESS OF -- THE USEFULNESS OF DERIVATIVES IN CERTAIN CASES, IT GOT OUT OF HAND. SO WHAT WE REPORTED OUT OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE WOULD, NUMBER ONE, BRING ALL THESE TRANSACTIONS TO THE LIGHT OF DAY, NO MORE BEHIND THE SCENES. IT WOULD HAVE TO BE REPORTED TO REGULATORS IN REAL TIME. IT WOULD BRING THE VAST MAJORITY, 90% OR MORE OF THESE ON TO CLEARING HOUSES AND EXCHANGES. IT WOULD HELP TO REDUCE THE CONCENTRATION OF RISK, BOLSTER PUBLIC TRANSPARENCY AND THE LEGISLATION THAT WE'RE TRYING TO BRING UP HERE THAT THE REPUBLICANS KEEP BLOCKING GETS TO THE HEART OF THE TOO BIG TO FAIL PROBLEM BY PROHIBITING THESE SWAPS ENTITIES, THESE DERIVATIVE ENTITIES FROM ALSO BEING COMMERCIAL BANKS. WE KIND OF GO BACK TO GLASS STEGALL AND SAY A COMMERCIAL BANK BACKED BY THE GOVERNMENT OR FDIC SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO USE THAT GOVERNMENT BACKING TO SUPPORT THESE HIGH STAKES GAMBLING. IF YOU WANT TO BE A COMMERCE BANK, GOD BLESS YOU, BE A COMMERCIAL BANK, BUT YOU CAN'T BE DEALING IN THESE SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES. LET THE INVESTMENT HOUSES TAKE CARE OF THAT. IT'S UNFAIR TO TAXPAYERS AND TO OUR ECONOMY TO LET OUR BANKS DO THAT. IT'S UNFAIR TO COMMUNITY BANKS. I JUST MET IN MY OFFICE YESTERDAY WITH ALL OUR COMMUNITY BANKS -- NOT ALL, BUT MOST OF THE COMMUNITY BANKS IN IOWA. THEY DON'T DEAL IN SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES. THEY TAKE DEPOSITS, THEY LOAN THEM OUT FOR BUSINESS STARTS AND PEOPLE THAT NEED A LOAN FOR DIFFERENT THINGS. THEY ARE NOT DEALING IN SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES. SO WHY SHOULD WE ALLOW THESE BIG BANKS ON WALL STREET TO DO IT THEMSELVES? NO REASON FOR THAT OTHER THAN THEY JUST WANT TO DO IT AND AGAIN TO CONTINUE THIS KIND OF RAMPANT SPECULATION. ALSO IN THIS BILL, WE PUT IN AN INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY TO GUARD AGAINST RIP-OFFS AND ABUSES AND MORTGAGES, CREDIT CARDS, PAYDAY LOANS AND OTHER FINANCIAL PRODUCTS, TO PROTECT CONSUMERS. SORELY NEEDED. WE SLAM THE DOOR ON TOO BIG TO FAIL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. NO MORE A.I.G.'S, NO MORE CITICORPS. WHEN COMPANIES MAKE HUGE BETS AND LOSE, THERE OUGHT TO BE A PROCESS FOR LIQUIDATING THOSE COMPANIES, PERIOD. NOT THAT THERE IS TOO -- NOT THAT THEY ARE TOO BIG AND WE HAVE TO RUSH IN WITH TAXPAYERS' HELP. NOW, TO FURTHER IMPROVE THE BILL, I AM COSPONSORING LEGISLATION OFFERED BY SENATOR CANTWELL THAT WOULD RE-CREATE THE GREAT DEPRESSION ERA REGULATION THAT PROHIBITED THE MIXING OF BANKS AND INSURANCE COMPANIES. IT'S ALMOST LIKE RESTATEMENT OF GLASS ISTEA FALL GAL. -- OF GLASS STEGALL. I'M ALSO A COSPONSOR OF THE SAFE BANKING ACT OFFERED BY SENATOR BROWN AND KAUFMAN THAT WOULD LIMIT THE SIZE OF BANKING INSTITUTIONS. NO MORE TOO BIG TO FAIL. IN ADDITION, I SUPPORT LEGISLATION BY SENATORS MERKLEY AND LEVIN THAT BLOCK INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE INSURED BY THE FDIC FROM PROPRIETARY TRADING WITH THEIR OWN MONEY, WITH THEIR OWN FUNDS. WE JUST CAN'T HAVE THESE BIG BANKS PLAYING WITH THEIR MONEY IF IT'S BACKED BY THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS COUNTRY. AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT, AMERICA HAS BEEN THROUGH FINANCIAL COLLAPSES AND DEEP ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS BEFORE, BUT WE LEARNED IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION, WE LEARNED. F.D.R. ANSWERED THAT CRISIS BY IMPLEMENTING TOUGH NEW REGULATIONS TO STABILIZE THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM, REIN IN RISK TAKING AND RECKLESSNESS ON WALL STREET, MAKE THE ECONOMY WORK FOR ORDINARY AMERICANS. BECAUSE OF THOSE -- THOSE REFORMS MADE IN THE 1930'S, WE HAD DECADES OF SHARED ECONOMIC PROSPERITY UNPRECEDENTED IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY. AND THEN WE THREW IT ALL OVERBOARD ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, 11 YEARS AGO. WHAT WE DID IN THE 1930'S NEEDS TO BE OUR MODEL. NOT THE SAME, BUT IT'S A DIFFERENT SYSTEM. IT NEEDS TO BE OUR MODEL AS WE SHAPE TODAY'S FINANCIAL REFORM LEGISLATION. FINANCIAL REFORM LEGISLATION OUGHT TO SEPARATE THESE BIG ENTITIES OUT. WE CAN'T HAVE TOO BIG TO FAIL. WE NEED TO HAVE TRANSPARENCY. WE NEED TO STOP BANKS FROM ENGAGING IN SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES BACK AND FORTH IF THEY ARE BACKED BY THE FDIC. NOW, THESE AMENDMENTS, THE CANTWELL AMENDMENT, THE MERKLEY AMENDMENT AND OTHERS THAT I HAPPEN TO BE SUPPORTING, AGAIN WE CAN'T OFFER IT UNLESS WE GET THE BILL TO THE FLOOR. I DON'T KNOW IF WE'LL WIN OR NOT ON THOSE, BUT WE OUGHT TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO OFFER THOSE AMENDMENTS. I TELL YOU, I -- I JUST WANT TO THANK SENATOR DODD. HE HAS BEEN IN THE FOREFRONT OF THIS FIGHT FOR A LONG TIME, TRYING TO BRING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR TO CRACK DOWN ON ALL OF THIS SPECULATION, TO PUT REGULATION IN THERE, TO HAVE A GOOD CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY OUT THERE TO PROTECT OUR CONSUMERS. SENATOR DODD HAS LED THIS EFFORT, AND I KNOW WHERE HIS HEART IS. I KNOW HOW HE IS TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS SYSTEM WORKS FOR EVERYBODY, NOT JUST WALL STREET. AND I DON'T KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO BE IN THE ROLE OF BASHING WALL STREET ALL THE TIME. I KNOW THAT'S A POPULAR SPORT. WALL STREET HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN OUR SOCIETY. THEY SURE DO. THEY ARE A FOUNTAIN OF INVESTMENTS ON A LARGE SCALE. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT. MY ONLY PROBLEM IS WITH SOME OF THE DEALINGS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING WITH THE SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES AND THINGS LIKE THAT. BUT LET'S GET WALL STREET BACK TO WHAT WALL STREET DOES THE BEST -- ACCUMULATING CAPITAL, INVESTING THAT CAPITAL IN THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF AMERICA. THAT'S WHAT THE DODD BILL DOES, GETS US BACK TO THAT SYSTEM. STRAIGHTENS THINGS OUT AND HELPS US TO PROTECT US FROM THESE KIND OF COLLAPSES IN THE FUTURE. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THE REPUBLICANS WILL NOT LET THIS BILL COME TO THE FLOOR, WON'T EVEN LET IT COME TO THE FLOOR. I DON'T MIND IF THEY WANT TO VOTE AGAINST IT. IF THEY WANT TO BE ON THE SIDE OF KEEPING WALL STREET SPECULATING WITH TAXPAYERS' DOLLARS, LETTING THESE THINGS GET TOO BIG TO FAIL, THAT'S THEIR RIGHT, BUT WHY NOT LET THE BILL COME TO THE FLOOR SO WE CAN DEBATE IT AND AMEND IT? IF THEY WANT TO CHANGE IT, LET THEM OFFER AMENDMENTS. BUT YOU CAN'T DO THAT UNLESS WE BRING THE BILL TO THE FLOOR. I HOPE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS. I HOPE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THAT SIDE OF THE AISLE, THE REPUBLICANS, WILL NOT LET THIS BILL EVEN COME TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE AND VOTE. I SAY TO MY FRIEND AND MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR DODD --

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  • 12:11:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR HAS USED HIS SEVEN MINUTES.

  • 12:11:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 12:11:50 PM

    MR. HARKIN

    FRIEND SENATOR DODD, I THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HARD WORK YOU HAVE PUT INTO…

    FRIEND SENATOR DODD, I THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HARD WORK YOU HAVE PUT INTO THIS, YOU AND YOUR STAFF AND YOUR COMMITTEE. THIS IS A GOOD BILL. WE MAY NOT AGREE ON EVERY LITTLE DOT AND TITTLE OF IT. BUT THIS IS A GOOD BILL, IT'S A SOLID BILL. IT WILL HELP US GET CONTROL BACK AGAIN OVER WALL STREET AND ALL THE WILD SPECULATION, AND IT WILL HELP OUR COUNTRY GROW AS IT SHOULD. NOT IN ONE SMALL AREA, BUT BROADLY BASED ECONOMIC GROWTH IN OUR COUNTRY. SO I THANK SENATOR DODD FOR HIS GREAT LEADERSHIP ON THIS. I JUST HOPE MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS WILL UNDERSTAND THAT WE HAVE TO GET THIS BILL UP ON THE FLOOR AND WE HAVE TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THESE FINANCIAL COLLAPSES LIKE HAVE HAPPENED JUST IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. MR. PRESIDENT, WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 12:12:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 12:12:42 PM

    MR. DODD

    AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THE TIME OF THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE HAS EXPIRED, IS THAT…

    AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THE TIME OF THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE HAS EXPIRED, IS THAT CORRECT?

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  • 12:12:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THAT IS CORRECT. SIX MINUTES LEFT.

  • 12:12:49 PM

    MR. DODD

    HAVE A REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUE TO ASK CONSENT IF I CAN SPEAK FOR A COUPLE OF…

    HAVE A REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUE TO ASK CONSENT IF I CAN SPEAK FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES. I WILL ASK CONSENT THAT I BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR FIVE MINUTES.

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  • 12:12:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, IT IS SO ORDERED.

  • 12:13:00 PM

    MR. DODD

    CHAIR. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME FIRST OF ALL THANK MY FRIEND FROM IOWA FOR…

    CHAIR. MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME FIRST OF ALL THANK MY FRIEND FROM IOWA FOR HIS TREMENDOUS WORK ON SO MANY ISSUES BUT ALSO HIS DEEP INTEREST IN THIS DUBT MATTER, AND OBVIOUSLY THE SUBJECT OF THE THE -- SUBJECT OF THE EXOTIC INSTRUMENTS AND DERIVATIVES AND THE LIKE ARE A CRITICAL ISSUE FOR ALL THE COUNTRY, BUT PARTICULARLY IN FARM STATE AMERICA WHERE THESE PLAY A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE. SO ALL OF US HAVE MAYBE A HIGHER DEGREE OF INTEREST ON ONE SUBJECT MATTER OR THE OTHER, BUT I'M PARTICULARLY GRATEFUL TO HIM FOR HIS LONG-STANDING INTEREST. THIS IS NOT AN INTEREST THAT EMERGED WITH THE PROBLEMS THAT SPIKED 18 MONTHS AGO AND HAVE CONTINUED BUT GO BACK YEARS. IN FACT, HE HAS WRITTEN LEGISLATION AND HELD HEARINGS IN HIS FORMER CAPACITY AS CHAIRMAN OF THE AG COMMITTEE SO HE KNOWS HIS SUBJECT WELL. I APPRECIATE HIS KIND COMMENTS ABOUT THE EFFORT OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE AND THE EFFORT OF BLANCHE LINCOLN, OUR COLLEAGUE FROM ARKANSAS, ON THE AG COMMITTEE THAT SHE NOW CHAIRS AND WORKING ON THAT VERY IMPORTANT PIECE OF OUR EFFORTS HERE. MR. PRESIDENT, THERE ARE ONLY A FEW MINUTES LEFT NOW BEFORE THIS VOTE WILL OCCUR AGAIN. I'M SOMEWHAT -- AGAIN, LIKE MOST PEOPLE, SOMEWHAT MYSTIFIED. I HAVE HEARD MY COLLEAGUES OVER THE LAST DAY OR SO RAVISHES, CONCERNS THEY HAVE WITH THE BILL. IT'S NO GREAT SHOCK THAT THAT WOULD BE THE CASE. THAT'S NORMALLY WHAT HAPPENS WITH A BILL OF THIS SIZE AND OBVIOUSLY OF THIS COMPLEXITY, COVERING AS MUCH OF AN AREA AS WE DO ACROSS THE -- ACROSS THE ECONOMIC SPECTRUM OF OUR COUNTRY. WHAT I'M SOMEWHAT MYSTIFIED ABOUT IS I UNDERSTAND HAVING OBJECTIONS TO PARTS OF THE BILL AND THAT YOU WANT TO BE HEARD AND YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE BILL, EITHER ADD TO IT OR SUBTRACT FROM IT. THAT'S HOW WE NORMALLY ENGAGE IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS HERE. BUT I CAN'T VERY WELL HELP YOU ON THAT FRONT IF YOU WON'T LET ME GET TO THE BILL, IN A SENSE. THIS MORNING, THE MAJOR NEWSPAPERS OF THE COUNTRY, OF COURSE, REPORTED ABOUT THE HEARINGS YESTERDAY HERE IN WASHINGTON, AND AGAIN, I DON'T NEED TO SAY MUCH MORE ABOUT IT. AGAIN, THE HEADLINES LOOKING INTO MORTGAGE DEALS AND THE LIKE HAVE REACHED A CERTAIN CRESCENDO THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY AWARE OF THOSE THINGS. THERE WAS ANOTHER HEADLINE, HOWEVER, THAT WASN'T AT THE TOP OF THE NEWSPAPER BUT IT WAS CERTAINLY UNDERNEATH IT. IN THIS CASE, THE LOCAL PAPER HERE IN WASHINGTON HAD "GREEK DEBT DOWNGRADED TO JUNK. EUROPE CRISIS DEEPENS. DOW FALLS% IN GLOBAL SELLOFF." THE REASON I MENTION THAT HERE IS OBVIOUSLY THE GOLDMAN SACHS STORY IS THE ONE THAT GOT THE ATTENTION, BUT TO MY FRIENDS, THERE ARE PROBLEMS EMERGING AROUND THE WORLD THAT AFFECT US AS WELLn OUR LEGISLATION DOESN'T REWRITE RULES BUT THE UNITED STATES HAS LED HISTORICALLY IN FINANCIAL SERVICES. IF WE ARE UNABLE TO GET' BILL PASSED HERE TO CHANGE THE RULES TO GIVE US A GREATER CHANCE OF OF -- SENSE OF TRANSPARENCY AND PROTECTIONS, WE'RE ACTUALLY -- THAT WERE MISSING OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS THAT HELPED CREATE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS WE'RE NOW FACING, THEN -- AND THEN LEAD GLOBALLY SO THAT OTHER NATIONS WILL HARMONIZE THEIR RULES WITH OURS, THEN THE PROBLEMS THAT EXIST IN THE SHANGHAI OR A GREECE CAN AFFECT US HERE. AND SO AGAIN, I SAY TO MY COLLEAGUES, WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO. I EXPECT THAT IF WE GET ON THIS BILL, WE'RE GOING TO BE HERE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS ENGAGED IN A SERIES OF AMENDMENTS AND IDEAS TO TRY AND STRENGTHEN THIS BILL, TO MAKE IT BETTER, IF YOU WILL. I, AS THE AUTHOR OR ONE OF THE AUTHORS OF THIS BILL, I DON'T CLAIM THAT THIS IS A PERFECT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE OF THOSE, MR. PRESIDENT, IN MY 30 YEARS HERE. NORMALLY YOU BRING OUT A BILL, YOU DO YOUR BEST YOU CAN. THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY OTHERS WHO HAVE DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW. IT WOULD BE PRESUMPTUOUS OF SENATOR SHELBY AND I TO SUGGEST SOMEHOW THAT WE CAN COME TO SOME GREAT AGREEMENT HERE AND TELL EVERYONE ELSE, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, THIS IS THE DEAL. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE GOT ELECTED TO DO HERE. I'VE GOT COLLEAGUES ON MY SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO ARE SYMPATHETIC TO WHAT I'VE TRIED TO DO HERE. THEY WANT TO CHANGE THIS BILL. IN FACT, THERE'S ONE AMENDMENT I KNOW MY COLLEAGUE FROM VERMONT IS GOING TO OFFER THAT I THINK HAS 32 OR 33 COSPONSORS. TWO-THIRDS OF THOSE COSPONSORS ARECOSPONSORSARE ARE ON THIS SIDE OF THE AISLE. A THIRD OF THEM ARE OVER HERE. THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT TO CHANGE THIS BILL, WHICH IS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. I'M PREPARED, FULLY PREPARED, AS A MANAGER OF THIS PRODUCT TO ALLOW FOR THAT AMENDMENT TO GO FORWARD, ENGAGE IN THAT FULL-THROATED DEBATE. BUT I CAN'T GET THERE IF YOU WON'T EVEN ALLOW NOTICE BRING THE BILL UP -- ALLOW ME TO BRING THE BILL U. SO UP. SO THE INCONGRUITY OF COMPLAINING ABOUT THE PRODUCT AND THEN SIMULTANEOUSLY SAYING I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU VOTE ON IT, I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU EXPLAIN THAT TO PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY. AT THE END OF THE DAY, IF YOU WANT TO VOTE AGAINST THIS BILL, DO SO. IF YOU WANT TO VOTE AGAINST ALL THE AMENDMENTS OR ALL VOTE FOR -- THAT'S -- DO IT, IF YOU WANT. I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT ANYTHING I'M OFFERING AT THIS JUNCTURE WOULD PRECLUDE YOU FROM THAT CONCLUSION. BUT YOU CAN'T GET TO THAT CONCLUSION UNLESS WE HAVE THE PRODUCT IN FRONT OF US. AND TODAY, ALL WE'VE HAD IS A SERIES OF SPEECHES OVER THREE DAYS AND DENYING US THE NECESSARY VOTES IN ORDER FOR US TO MOVE EFFECTIVELY. IN EFFECT, A FILIBUSTER IS ONGOING HERE, AND THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN BREAK THE FILIBUSTER IS BY GETTING 60 VOTES THAT WILL ALLOW TO US MOVE TO THE PRODUCT. 57 OF US HAVE SAID LET'S GET THERE. AND I'VE SAID THIS BEFORE AND I'LL SAY IT AGAIN. THIS OUGHT NOT TO BE AT THIS JUNCTURE A PARTISAN ISSUE. IT MAY GET PARTISAN LATER ON OVER SOME OF THESE IDEAS, BUT I AM FULLY -- I BELIEVE FULLY AWARE THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF MY COLLEAGUES HERE WHO BELIEVE WE OUGHT TO GET TO THIS DEBATE AND WE OUGHT TO GET THERE SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. AND AGAIN, THAT'S NOT TO SUGGEST THAT THEY AGREE WITH THE PRODUCT BY TAKING THAT POSITION. IN FACT, I SUSPECT THEY DON'T AGREE WITH THE PRODUCT, AT LEAST GOOD PARTS OF IT OR SOME PARTS OF IT. BUT I THINK THEY UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING TO A POINT WHERE WE CAN THEN TRY AND CHANGE THIS IN SOME WAY. 10SO MY -- I APPRECIATE IT AND I'LL CONCLUDE. I JUST MAKE THAT APPEAL ONCE MORE. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THIS TWICE ALREADY. IT'S -- I HATE TO SEEM COMING AND GETTING IN A PARTISAN DEBATE ABOUT THIS. WE SHOULDN'T DO THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. IT DOESN'T REFLECT WELL ON THIS INSTITUTION ON A MATTER OF THIS IMPORT NOT TO ALLOW THIS TO GO G FORWARD. SO WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. I YIELD BACK ALL TIME.

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  • 12:19:11 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    TIME IS YIELDED BACK. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE MOTION TO INVOKE CLOTURE.

  • 12:19:16 PM

    THE CLERK

    MOTION. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF…

    MOTION. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED SENATORS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RULE 22 OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE, HEREBY MOVE TO BRING TO A CLOSE THE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO CALENDAR NUMBER 349, S. 3217, THE RESTORING AMERICAN FINANCIAL STABILITY ACT OF 2010. SIGNED BY 17 SENATORS.

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  • 12:19:39 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MAJORITY QUORUM IS WAIVED. THE QUESTION…

    OFFICER: BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, THE MAJORITY QUORUM IS WAIVED. THE QUESTION IS: IS IT THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT THE DEBATE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 3217 3217, THE RESTORING AMERICA'S FINANCIAL STABILITY ACT OF 2010, SHALL BE BROUGHT TO A CLOSE? THE YEAS AND NAYS ARE MANDATORY UNDER THE RULE. AND THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. VOTE: VOTE: VOTE:

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  • 12:20:17 PM

    Senate Vote 127 - On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Second Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider S 3217)

    Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010

    Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (56 - 42)
    Yea
    Nay

    Vote Details: Yea - 55
    Democratic - 53
    Independent - 2

    Vote Details: Nay - 42
    Republican - 40
    Democratic - 2

    Vote Details: Not Voting - 2
    Democratic - 1
    Republican - 1

  • 12:45:40 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: ARE THERE ANY SENATORS WISHING TO VOTE OR TO CHANGE YOUR VOTE? SEEING NONE, THE AYES ARE 56, THE NAYS ARE 42. THRIFTS OF THE SENATORS DULY -- 3/5 OF THE SENATORS DULY CHOSEN AND SWORN HAVING VOTED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, THE MOTION IS NOT AGREED TO. MR.

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  • 12:46:05 PM

    MR. REID

    MOTION TO RECONSIDER TO INVOKE CLOTURE ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED.

  • 12:46:10 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MOTION IS ENTERED. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 12:47:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY.

  • 12:47:50 PM

    MR. LAUTENBERG

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THINK IT'S BEEN SAID BEFORE, BUT HERE WE GO AGAIN. WHAT…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, I THINK IT'S BEEN SAID BEFORE, BUT HERE WE GO AGAIN. WHAT WE HAVE JUST SEEN TELLS US WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OUGHT TO KNOW. THERE ARE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS BEING ASKED OF SENATORS THIS WEEK AND THE PRINCIPAL OF THOSE IS WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? WHO DO YOU WORK FOR? ON MONDAY, TUESDAY AND AGAIN TODAY, WE GOT AN ANSWER. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, THEY MADE IT CLEAR. THEY STAND WITH THE BIG BANKS. THEY DON'T STAND WITH THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF EVERYDAY PEOPLE WHO MAKE THIS COUNTRY THE GREAT PLACE WE HAVE BECOME. THEY DO NOT STAND FOR OPPORTUNITIES LIKE THE ONES THAT ALLOWED AMERICANS TO COME TOGETHER AFTER WORLD WAR II TO GET AN EDUCATION, GET JOBS, BECOME THE GREATEST GENERATION THAT BUILT OUR NATION INTO THE GREATEST ON EARTH. INSTEAD, OUR FRIENDS ACROSS THE AISLE STAND WITH WALL STREET LOBBYISTS WHO DEMAND THAT WE DO NOT TAKE UP THIS BILL. WHAT AN OUTRAGE. THEY STAND FOR MAINTAINING A BANKING SYSTEM THAT DENIES PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES THE FUNDS THAT THEY NEED AND SELLS PEOPLE MORTGAGES THAT THEY CAN'T AFFORD WHILE LINING EXECUTIVE POCKETS WITH BILLIONS IN COMPENSATION. THE PICTURE IS QUITE CLEAR, VERY OBVIOUS AS TO WHAT'S TAKEN PLACE HERE. AFTER HEARING THE DEMANDS OF THE WALL STREET LOBBYISTS, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SYSTEMATICALLY MARCHED DOWN HERE, VOTED NO IN LOCKSTEP, NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE, BUT THREE TIMES. NO ONE BOLD ENOUGH TO SAY YEAH, WE OUGHT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SITUATION THAT HURT OUR ECONOMY SO, THAT DESTROYED JOBS, LIVES AND HOMES. WHAT THE REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST THREE TIMES THIS WEEK WAS SIMPLY TO START DEBATING THE WALL STREET REFORM BILL TO MAKE IT AN EVEN FAIRER SYSTEM. THE BANKING LOBBYISTS MAY NOT WANT US TO TAKE UP THIS BILL, BUT EVERYDAY PEOPLE DO WANT REFORM, THEY DO WANT CHANGE, THEY DO WANT TO SEE CAPITAL FLOWING INTO SMALL BUSINESSES SO THEY CAN GET ON WITH WORK AND PLANNING THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR CHILDREN'S FUTURES. SO ON BEHALF OF THE EVERYDAY PEOPLE WHOSE SIDE WE ARE ON, WE'LL KEEP VOTING TO TAKE UP THIS BILL UNTIL THE OTHER SIDE UNDERSTANDS THAT THAT'S WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT AND GIVE THEM A BREAK. NOW, SOME SAY THAT THEY VOTED NO BECAUSE THEY WANTED MORE TIME TO MAKE A DEAL. THE REALITY IS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE FED UP WITH BACK ROOM DEALS THAT LEAVE THEM OUT IN THE COLD. WE HAVE LISTENED TO THE TESTIMONY CAREFULLY THAT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED THESE DAYS AND ARE SHOCKED TO FIND OUT HOW THEY THINK THAT HIDING THE DEALS WERE OKAY BUT THEY DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE KNOWN TO THE PUBLIC. THEY -- THEY WANT US TO ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES, TALK A LOT ABOUT THIS BILL, TELL THE PUBLIC THE TRUTH, VOTE ON AMENDMENTS, AND PASS THE STRONG WALL STREET REFORM BILL. THAT'S WHAT THE AVERAGE PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY WANTS. SO WHY DON'T THE BANKING LOBBYISTS LIKE OUR BILL? THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS. BECAUSE IT PUTS AN END TO GIANT TAXPAYER-FUNDED BAILOUTS BY CREATING A SAFE, RESPONSIBLE WAY TO LIQUIDATE FAILING FIRMS. THEY DON'T LIKE IT BECAUSE IT WILL END THE ERA OF TOO BIG TO FAIL. AND STOP PROTECTING IRRESPONSIBLE EXECUTIVES WHO MISMANAGE THEIR COMPANIES. BECAUSE IT WILL HELP PREVENT RECKLESS GAMBLING WITH INVESTORS' MONEY BY STARTING A NEW CONSUMER PROTECTION WATCHDOG. THEY DON'T WANT THOSE THINGS TO HAPPEN. AND BECAUSE IT MOVES THE DERIVATIVES MARKETS FROM THE SHADOWS TO THE SUNLIGHT SO THAT THESE TRANSACTIONS ARE TRANSPARENT SO THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON. MADAM PRESIDENT, RIGHT NOW, ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, ORDINARY AMERICANS ARE FACING REAL TOUGH PROBLEMS. MANY STRUGGLE TO FIND A JOB, MEET THEIR MONTHLY BILL. MANY ARE STRUGGLING TO PAY FOR A COLLEGE EDUCATION. FAR TOO MANY OF OUR PEOPLE ARE UNABLE TO KEEP THEIR HOMES FROM FALLING INTO FORECLOSURE. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE BEEN WORKING SO HARD TO REFORM OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM. TO MAKE BIG BANKS ACCOUNTABLE AND SHINE A LIGHT ON WALL STREET. BUT NOT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. THEY LITERALLY HAVE TAKEN THEIR MARCHING ORDERS DIRECT FROM WALL STREET. WE KNOW THAT WE REPUBLICANS MET WITH WALL STREET EXECUTIVES AND POLITICAL CONSULTANTS ABOUT HOW TO ATTACK THIS BILL, ABOUT NOT PERMITTING US TO EXERCISE THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE HAVE. BUT IT'S NOT WORKING BECAUSE WE'RE ON THE SIDE OF EVERYDAY PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE WHO SENT US HERE, SENT US HERE WITH A PLEA. HELP US, HELP US WITH OUR LIVES, HELP US TAKE CARE OF OUR FAMILIES, HELP US EDUCATE OUR KIDS, HELP US PROTECT OURSELVES. WHEN HEALTH CARE IS SO REQUIRED. AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE MADE IT CLEAR THEY ARE NOT FOOLED BY THE DELAYING TACTICS AND SECRET DEALS AND THEY WANT WALL STREET REFORMED. IN THE LAST DECADE, WE SAW HOW MUCH POWER THE FINANCIAL SECTOR HAS OVER OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY. IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIONS BY BIG BANKS LED TO THE SUBPRIME BUBBLE THAT LED HOMES TO APPRECIATE FAR BEYOND THEIR WORTH AND LED MILLIONS OF AMERICANS TO TAKE ON LOANS THAT THEY SHOULD NEVER HAVE QUALIFIED FOR. THE RESULTS WERE CATASTROPHIC AND THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE IMMENSE. MANY OF THESE PEOPLE WERE SEDUCED INTO TAKING LOANS THAT THEY WERE ADVISED THAT THEY COULD HANDLE. THEY DIDN'T USE GOOD JUDGMENT, BUT THEY PAID A HECK OF A PRICE FOR IT. EIGHT MILLION JOBS WERE LOST. RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS SHRIVELED AND SMALL BUSINESSES SHUT THEIR DOORS. THE ETHICAL FAILURES OF WALL STREET ALMOST BROUGHT OUR ECONOMY TO THE BRINK OF A SECOND GREAT DEPRESSION. AND AS A FORMER C.E.O. OF A MAJOR COMPANY, I UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR A STRONG FINANCIAL SECTOR, BUT I ALSO COME TO WORK EVERY DAY REMINDED OF THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. MAKE NO MISTAKE, WALL STREET REFORM, WALL STREET CHANGE IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, AND THAT'S WHY WE'RE GOING TO KEEP MOVING TOWARD THIS, FORWARD ON THIS CRITICAL BILL. WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO TAKE OUR MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND LET THE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE SAY NO, NO, NO. THE PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE MAY TRY TO DISTORT, THEY MAY TRY TO DISTRUCT. WE'LL CONTINUE THE FIGHT FOR ORDINARY AMERICANS FOR PEOPLE WHO WAKE UP EVERY MORNING, PLAY BY THE RULES. AND I REPEAT SOMETHING I SAID A MOMENT AGO. THAT IS HOW CAN WE IGNORE TO SUPPORT THE INFRASTRUCTURE IN OUR COUNTRY THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE THINGS HAPPEN EVERY DAY, WHO ARE THERE TO DO WHATEVER THE JOBS ARE THAT ARE NECESSARY AND RESERVE THE BEST AND THE MOST FOR THOSE THROUGH AT THE TOP. WE CAN'T DO IT THAT WAY. WE HAVE AN INFRASTRUCTURE HERE THAT IS EVEN FAR MORE PRECIOUS THAN OUR PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, AND THAT'S OUR HUMAN INFRASTRUCTURE. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHAT'S HAPPENING SO WE CAN MAKE THE CHANGES NECESSARY TO AVOID THE CATASTROPHE THAT WE HAVE HAD OVER THESE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. THANK GOODNESS THROUGH THE LEADERSHIP OF PRESIDENT OBAMA AND THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE WORK OF COLLEAGUES WHO ARE MAKING PROGRESS, BUT THE PROGRESS IS NOT RAPID ENOUGH NOR BROAD ENOUGH. WE'RE GOING TO INSIST ON MOVING DOWN THE ROAD OF PROGRESS. WE'LL INSIST ON DOING WHAT IS RIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY, FOR OUR FAMILIES AND FOR OUR FUTURE. AND I HOPE SOMEBODY, SOMEONE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS POLITICAL AISLE WILL SAY HEY LISTEN, WE'RE NOT GETTING ANYWHERE BY JUST WALKING DOWN THE STEPS TOGETHER AND SAYING NO AND NOT PERMITTING CHANGE TO TAKE PLACE THAT'S CRITICAL FOR OUR SOCIETY AND OUR WORLD. WITH THAT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 12:57:15 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    LET ME ASK THE SENATOR TO WITHHOLD. WELL, MADAM PRESIDENT, IF WE ARE IN A…

    LET ME ASK THE SENATOR TO WITHHOLD. WELL, MADAM PRESIDENT, IF WE ARE IN A QUORUM CALL, I --

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  • 12:57:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM NORTH DAKOTA.

  • 12:57:23 PM

    MR. DORGAN

    PRESIDENT, FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO MAKE JUST A COUPLE OF COMMENTS ABOUT…

    PRESIDENT, FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO MAKE JUST A COUPLE OF COMMENTS ABOUT WHAT HAS JUST TRANSPIRED ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. FOR THE THIRD TIME, WE HAD A VOTE, NOT ON ANYTHING RELATING TO THE INGREDIENTS OF A BILL DEALING WITH FINANCE REFORM OR WALL STREET REFORM. JUST ON THE QUESTION OF THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO DEBATE THE BILL. JUST THE MOTION TO PROCEED. YES OR NO, SHALL WE PROCEED TO BRING THE BILL TO THE FLOOR AND DEBATE IT? THIRD DAY IN A ROW, ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE MINORITY VOTED NO, WE WON'T EVEN ALLOW THE SENATE TO PROCEED TO DEBATE WALL STREET REFORM. IT'S UNBELIEVABLE TO ME. IN THE SHADOW OF YESTERDAY'S HEARINGS WITH ONE OF THE MAJOR INVESTMENT BANKS OF THIS COUNTRY AND THE DISCLOSURE OF EMAILS DEEP FROM THE BOWELS OF THAT BANK THAT CLEARLY SUGGESTED THEY WERE PEDDLING SECURITIES TO CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS THAT THEY KNEW TO BE BAD SECURITIES, AND ALSO BETTING AGAINST THE POSITION OF THEIR CLIENTS, BETTING AGAINST A RECOVERY FOR OUR COUNTRY, IN THE SHADOW OF ALL THAT, HOW ON EARTH CAN THE MINORITY DECIDE THAT WE SHOULDN'T EVEN MOVE TO DEBATE WALL STREET REFORM? NOW, I FIND IT REALLY INTERESTING THAT WE HAVE PEOPLE SAYING WELL, GOVERNMENT CAN'T SOLVE THIS. THERE IS TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT, TOO MUCH THIS, TOO MUCH THAT. WHEN WE HAVE SUFFERED A GREAT DEPRESSION IN THIS COUNTRY, IT WAS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT TOOK ACTION TO PUT IN PLACE SOME THINGS THAT TRIED TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY'S ECONOMY AND DID SO FOR ABOUT 60, 70 YEARS. THEY SAID WE'RE NOT GOING TO ALLOW BANKS AND FDIC INSURED BANKS AND INVESTMENT BANKS AND SECURITIES DEALERS AND OTHERS TO COMMINGLE UNDER ONE CORPORATION. WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE BANKS AND PUT RISKY ENTERPRISES FUSED TO THOSE BANKS. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. SO LEGISLATION WAS PASSED TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY. WELL, ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, THERE WERE A BUNCH OF REALLY SMART PEOPLE WHO DECIDED THAT STUFF WAS OLD-FASHIONED. WE HAVE TO COMPETE WITH THE EUROPEANS. LET'S ALLOW HOLDING COMPANIES TO BE CREATED. WE'LL BRING BANKS AND INVESTMENT BANKS AND REAL ESTATE AND ALL THESE THINGS TOGETHER INTO ONE BIG HOLDING COMPANY UNDER ONE ROOF, AND IT WILL BE JUST FINE. WELL, IT TURNS OUT IT WASN'T JUST FINE. AND AT THE SAME TIME THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING, BIG HOLDING COMPANIES NOW BEING CREATED IN WHICH YOU BROUGHT RISKY THINGS IN THE MIDDLE OF BANKING ENTERPRISES WHOSE VERY PERCEPTION OF SAFETY AND SOUNDNESS IS CRITICAL TO THEIR FUTURE, AT THE VERY SAME TIME THAT WAS HAPPENING, WE HAD A BUNCH OF PEOPLE COME TO TOWN WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE REGULATORS, THE REFEREES, WHO SAID WE'RE GOING TO BE WILLFULLY BLIND. WE DON'T EVEN LIKE GOVERNMENT. DO WHAT YOU WANT. WE'RE NOT GOING TO WATCH. WE WON'T LOOK. AT THE SAME TIME THAT WAS GOING ON, ALAN GREENSPAN DOWN AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD DECIDED WE'LL LET ALL THESE INSTITUTIONS BEHAVE IN THEIR OWN SELF-INTEREST AND THEIR SELF-INTEREST WILL GOVERN WHAT WILL BE THE RIGHT THING. THAT WAS A HUGE MISTAKE, I THINK SO, PROBABLY A $15 TRILLION MISTAKE. BUT THE FACT IS THOSE WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE REGULATING AND DECIDED NOT TO REGULATE, THOSE WHO WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE REFEREES TO CALL THE FOULS, WEAR THE STRIPED SHIRTS, BLOW THE WHISTLES, CALL THE FOULS WHEN THE FREE MARKET SYSTEM WAS BEING ABUSED, THEY WEREN'T AROUND. THEY WERE OUT TO LUNCH SOMEPLACE FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS. NOW, MY COLLEAGUES WHO SAY, WELL, WE DON'T WANT GOVERNMENT TO DO THIS, LOOK, I DON'T KNOW WHO ELSE IS GOING TO SET THE RULES HERE TO DECIDE WE'RE NOT GOING TO LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN. DOES IT TAKE ANY AMOUNT OF INTELLIGENCE TO UNDERSTAND THAT IF YOU ARE A MORTGAGE COMPANY ADVERTISING TO PEOPLE IN THE FOLLOWING WAY, DO YOU HAVE NO CREDIT, SLOW CREDIT,NO PAY, BANKRUPT? COME TO US, WE'D LIKE TO GIVE YOU A LOAN. ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, I'VE SHOWN SOLICITATION AFTER SOLICITATION BY COMPANIES THAT SAID, IF YOU'VE GOT BAD CREDIT, SLOW PAY, NO PAY, COME TO US, WE'D LIKE TO ACTIVE GIVE YOU A HOME LOAN. NOW, IT DOESN'T TAKE A LOT OF INTELLIGENCE TO UNDERSTAND THAT DOESN'T WORK. BY THE WAY, THEY ALSO SAID, IF YOU'VE GOT BAD CREDIT, COME TO US. IN FACT, WE WON'T EVEN ASK YOU WHAT YOUR INCOME IS. WE'LL GIVE YOU A NO-DOCUMENT LOAN OR YOU DON'T HAVE TO DOCUMENT YOUR INCOME. IT'S CALLED NO-DOC. AND BY THE WAY, WE'LL GIVE YOU A LIAR'S LOAN. THEY DIDN'T CALL IT THAT BUT A NO-DOC LIAR'S LOAN. NOW, DOES IT TAKE A GENIUS TO UNDERSTAND THAT'S NOT WORKING VERY WELL? BUT WHY WAS EVERYBODY ANXIOUS TO DO ALL OF THAT? BECAUSE YOU COULD WRAP IT INTO A BIG, FAT SECURITY, THEN YOU COULD SELL IT TO AN INVESTMENT BANK AND THEY COULD SELL IT TO A HEDGE FUN AND THEY COULD SELL IT BACK AGAIN. AND MEANWHILE, WHOEVER MADE THE ORIGINAL LOAN GOT RID OF THE LIABILITY ONCE THEY SOLD IT UPSTREAM AND THEY GOT THE -- THE RATING AGENCIES TO RATE THESE THINGS AS TRIPLE -- AS AA AMENDMENT INCIDENTALLY, CONVENIENTLY THE RATING AGENCIES ARE PAID BY THE VERY COMPANIES WHOSE SECURITIES THEY RATE. SOUND LIKE TROUBLE TO ME? IT DOES. SO ALL THESE THINGS WERE HAPPENING AND EVERYBODY UNDERSTANDS THAT THAT'S NOT GOING TO HOLD UP. ULTIMATELY ALL OF THIS THING IS GOING TO COLLAPSE. IT'S A HOUSE OF CARDS THAT'S BEING BUILT. SO HOW DO YOU PUT THIS BACK TOGETHER? WELL, SENATOR DODD AND THE BANKING COMMITTEE PUT A BEG TOGETHER -- PUT A BILL TOGETHER, AND THAT'S THE BILL WE'RE TRYING TO GET TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. I THINK IT'S A PRETTY GOOD BILL. IT TIGHTENS THINGS UP, GIVES AUTHORITIES TO REGULATORS THEY'RE GOING TO NEED AND WILL TRY TO PREVENT THIS FROM EVER HAPPENING AGAIN. I MEAN, THIS WAS NOT SOME HURRICANE KATRINA THAT CAME ASHORE AND FLATTENED A BUNCH OF BUILDINGS. THIS WASN'T A -- A VOLCANO ERUPTING, IT WASN'T A TORNADO THAT COMES SWEEPING THROUGH AND DESTROYS A TOWN. THIS WAS AN ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE THAT TOOK AWAY $15 TRILLION FROM THIS COUNTRY'S ECONOMY, IT DEVASTATED A LOT OF FAMILIES, PUT A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT OF WORK, A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR HOMES. AND IN THE MEANTIME, WE SEE WHAT HAS HAPPENED. WELL, THERE'S SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS OF MISERY AROUND THIS COUNTRY FOR FAMILIES AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE STILL NOT RECOVERED FROM THE DEVASTATION OF FINANCIAL NEAR COLLAPSE. THE FOLKS AT THE TOP ARE NOW MAKING RECORD PROFITS. YES, THE INVESTMENT BANK THAT TESTIFIED YESTERDAY, RECORD PROFITS, BIG BONUSES. I DESCRIBED EARLIER BONUSES OF $142 BILLION WERE PROJECTED ON WALL STREET. I TALKED ABOUT IN THE YEAR 2008 AT A POINT WHEN THIS ALL BEGAN TO COLLAPSE, WE HAD SOMETHING LIKE $36 BILLION IN LOSSES JUST ON WALL STREET AND THOSE FIRMS THAT HAD $36 BILLION OF LOSSES PAID $17 BILLION IN BONUSES TO THEIR EMPLOYEES. NOW, I HAVE AN M.B.A. AND WENT TO BUSINESS SCHOOL. THIS ISN'T ANY BOOK THAT TEACHES THAT IN BUSINESS SCHOOL. LOSE A TON OF MONEY AND GET BIG BONUSES. AND YET THAT IS WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING. IT'S A CARNIVAL OF GREED AT THE TOP. AND BY THE WAY, THE INSTRUMENTS THEY CREATED WITH THESE MORTGAGE SECURITIES AND OTHERS, SECURITIZING ALMOST ANYTHING THEY COULD GET THEIR HANDS ON, WITH EXOTIC TITLES LIKE CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. BY THE WAY, THAT'S BRAND-NEW. WE'VE ALWAYS KNOWN ABOUT DERIVATIVES. I WROTE AN ARTICLE WHICH WAS THE COVER STORY FOR THE "WASHINGTON MONTHLY" MAGAZINE IN 1994. THAT'S ALMOST 16 YEARS AGO. AND MY COVER STORY FOR THAT MAGAZINE WAS TITLED "VERY RISKY BUSINESS." AND IT WAS ABOUT THE DANGER THAT DERIVATIVES POSED TO THE BANKING SYSTEM. THAT IS 16 -- ALMOST 16 YEARS AGO NOW. AND I MADE THE SAME POINT IN THE YEAR 1999 WHEN GLASS-STEAGALL WAS REPEALED AND I OPPOSED IT. VERY RISKY BUSINESS. SO THEY CREATE SYNTHETIC CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS, SYNTHETIC WOULD BE THE SAME AS CALLING IT NAKED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. THAT MEANS INSTEAD OF HAVING SOMETHING AT EITHER END OF A CONTRACT, THERE IS NOTHING. IT IS TWO PEOPLE MAKING A WAGER OR A BET THAT SOMETHING ELSE WILL HAPPEN. NOW, I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT THERE OUGHT NOT BE WHAT IS CALLED A NAKED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAP. I THINK THEY OUGHT TO BE OUTLAWED. THAT'S JUST GAMBLING. THAT'S NOT INVESTING, THAT'S BETTING. AND IF YOU WANT TO BET, THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES TO BET IN THIS COUNTRY STARTING WITH LAS VEGAS AND ATLANTIC CITY. AND THEY HAVE A BUSINESS DOING THAT. NO ONE OUGHT TO SHOW UP ON AN AIRPLANE IN LAS VEGAS OR ATLANTIC CITY, HOWEVER, WITH THEIR DEPOSITORS' MONEY OR WITH THEIR CLIENTS' MONEY AND DECIDE THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO WAGER ON A CRAPS TABLE OR A KENO TABLE. AND YET THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING WITH WHAT IS CALLED -- WHAT ARE CALLED NAKED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. AND BY THE WAY, I BELIEVE IT WAS THE LANK OF LONDON THAT -- THE BANK OF LONDON THAT ESTIMATED THAT OF THE CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS IN ENGLAND, AND I SUSPECT IT WOULD HOLD TRUE HERE, 80% OF THEM HAD NO INSURABLE VALUE ON THE OTHER SIDE. NOW, I WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TODAY, THIS AFTERNOON TO DECIDE I'M GOING TO BUY A -- AN INSURANCE POLICY ON THE HOUSE OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER IN NORTH CAROLINA. IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR ME TO SAY MY INTEREST TODAY IS TO INVEST IN FIRE INSURANCE ON THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S HOME. BECAUSE I HAVE NO INSURABLE INTEREST IN THAT HOME. AND IT MIGHT BE THAT I'D BUY FIRE INSURANCE IF I COULD AND WALK AROUND WITH A BOX OF MATCHES. THAT'S THE PROBLEM, RIGHT? SO I HAVE NO INSURABLE INTEREST. IT WOULD BE AGAINST THE LAW FOR ME TO BUY FIRE INSURANCE ON THE HOME OF THE PRESIDING OFFICER. THAT IS NOT THE CASE WITH RESPECT TO NAKED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE AN INSURABLE INTEREST IN ANYTHING. YOU JUST, WITH SOMEONE ELSE, SAY LET'S MAKE A WAGER HERE ON WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THIS BOND, AND THERE'S AN INVESTMENT BANK -- PERHAPS THE INVESTMENT BANK WILL TAKE PART OF THAT WAIRNLG. THEY'LL CERTAINLY WANT -- WILL TAKE PART OF THAT WAGER. THEY'LL CERTAINLY WANT TO ARRANGE IT BECAUSE THEY GET BIG, FAT FEES. BUT THAT'S NOT INVESTING IN AMERICA. THAT'S NOT MAKING LOANS TO SMALL OR MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES. THAT'S NOT INVESTING IN AMERICA'S FUTURE AND STRENGTH. THAT'S JUST GAMBLING, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'VE COME TO. YOU CANNOT IN A COUNTRY LIKE OURS EXPAND OUR ECONOMY WITHOUT TWO THINGS: PRODUCTION AND FINANCE. AND THIS HAVE BEEN OVER 200 YEARS TIMES WHEN PRODUCTION HAS THE UPPER HAND AND THEN OTHER TIMES WHEN FINANCE HAS THE UPPER HAND. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH A PERIOD HERE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES WHERE THE FINANCING SYSTEM OF OUR COUNTRY HAS THE UPPER HAND. AND WE NEED A BANKING SYSTEM, WE NEED A FINANCING SYSTEM WITH ALL OF THE LEVELS OF FINANCE. YES, FDIC INSURED BANKS, YES, INVESTMENT BANKS, VENTURE CAP TAVMENT WE --CAPITAL. WE NEED ALL OF THOSE THINGS. BUT WE NEED TO GET BACK TO BASICS, TO THE OLD-FASHIONED STANDARD OF WHAT BANKING REALLY SHOULD AND USED TO BE; THAT IS, MAKING DEPOSITS AND THEN PROVIDING -- TAKING DEPOSITS, RATHER, AND THEN MAKING LOANS. AND WHEN YOU MAKE A LOAN, YOU DO WHAT IS CALLED UNDERWRITING. THAT IS, YOU SIT ACROSS THE DESK FROM SOMEONE WHO NEEDS A LOAN AND YOU LOOK AT THEM IN THE EYE AND YOU EVALUATE WHAT IS THEIR INCOME, WHAT IS THEIR IDEA, THEIR NEED, THEIR PROPERTY. AND YOU DECIDE YES OR NO. THERE HAS BEEN NO UNDERWRITING ON MANY OF THESE LOANS THAT HELPED CREATE THIS FOUNDATION OF SAND IN THIS ECONOMY. THERE WAS NO UNDERWRITING. BECAUSE IF YOU COULD SAY TO SOMEONE, DO YOU KNOW WHAT? WE'LL GIVE YOU A NEW HOME MORTGAGE AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ANY INTEREST AND WE -- YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ANY PRINCIPAL EVEN AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL US WHAT YOUR INCOME IS. THAT'S A NO-DOC LIAR'S LOAN. WE'LL DO THAT FOR YOU. WHY? WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT? BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY RISK. THE MINUTE THEY DO IT, THEY GET TO WRAP IT INTO A FAT SECURITY AND THEN SELL IT TO SOMEONE ELSE. AND BY THE WAY, BECAUSE THE RATING AGENCIES THINK ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE AAA, WHOEVER ELSE BOUGHT IT THOUGHT IT WAS A SAFE SECURITY. AND THEN THEY SOLD IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND YOU JUST PASSED PASS THE RISK FORWARD. THIS WAS A CESSPOOL OF GREED WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE MAKING A LOT OF MONEY AND CREATING A STRUCTURE THAT WAS DESTINED TO FAIL. NOW THE QUESTION IS: ARE WE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT? IS SOMEBODY GOING TO TAKE SOME ACTION AND SAY YOU CAN'T DO THAT ANYMORE? THAT'S WHAT THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT ASKS WITH A BILL COMING FROM THE BANKING COMMITTEE. THE FACT IS, HE BROUGHT THAT BILL OUT OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE AND NOT ONE REPUBLICAN OFFERED AN AMENDMENT. NOT ONE. THEY SAID, WE'RE NOT GOING TO PARTICIPATE. AFTER THEY HAD HAD HEARINGS FOR A YEAR AND THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT HAD NEGOTIATED WITH THEM FOR FIVE, SIX MONTHS, FOLLOWING ALL THAT THEY HAD A MARKUP ON A BILL TO WRITE THE BILL AND THE REPUBLICANS SAID, WE'RE NOT GOING TO PARTICIPATE, WE WON'T OFFER ANY SUGGESTIONS, NO AMENDMENTS. THEN WHEN THE BILL IS NOW BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, THE REPUBLICANS SAY, WELL, WE WEREN'T PART OF IT. WELL, SURE, THEY DECIDED THEY DIDN'T WANT TO BE A PART IT WAS AND THAT'S WHY THEY WEREN'T PART OF IT. THAT WAS AN -- THAT WAS AN ACTION THAT THEY TOOK. AND THEY SAY, WELL, WE BELIEVE THIS IS A BAILOUT BILL. IT'S NOT A BAILOUT BILL. I'LL TELL THEM WHAT A BAILOUT BILL. I VOTED AGAINST IT. A BAILOUT BILL WAS WHEN GEORGE W. BUSH AND HIS TREASURY SECRETARY CAME TO THE CONGRESS AND SAID, I WANT TO YOU PASS A THREE-PAGE BILL IN THE NEXT THREE DAYS PUTTING UP $700 BILLION TO BAIL OUT AMERICA'S BIGGEST FINANCIAL FIRMS. YES, THAT WAS A BAILOUT BILL. AND MOST OF THOSE WHO HAVE CALLED THIS A BAILOUT BILL VOTED FOR THAT. THEY KNOW WHAT BAILOUT IS BECAUSE THEY VOTED FOR IT. I DIDN'T. BUT NONETHELESS, THIS IS NOT A BAILOUT BILL. THIS IS A BILL THAT FINALLY BEGINS TO SHUT THE DOOR ON ACTIVITIES THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN TAKING PLACE. AND IS THE BILL PERFECT? NO, SURE ISN'T. SHOULD IT BE CHANGED? THERE ARE A NUMBER OF AREAS WHERE I THINK IT WILL BE CHANGED ONCE WE GET TO THE FLOOR. BUT YOU CAN'T EVEN ADDRESS THOSE UNLESS WE GET PAST THE MOTION TO PROCEED. WHAT THE MINORITY IS DOING IS SAYING WE DON'T INTEND TO LET YOU PROCEED AT ALL. WELL, HOW ABOUT DECIDING THAT WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS TOGETHER AND WE'LL GET THE BEST OF WHAT BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE TO OFFER, GET THE BEST AMENDMENT -- AMENDMENTS THAT CAN BE OFFERED. I'VE JUST SUGGESTED ONE, THAT IS BAN NAKED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. YOU HAVE NO INSURABLE INTEREST? BAN IT. MR. PEARLSTEIN, WHO WRITES A COLUMN FOR "THE WASHINGTON POST," MADE A SUGGESTION THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE TO ME. WHY WOULD YOU ALLOW MORE SECURITIES IN THE FORM OF CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS TO INSURE BONDS, WHY WOULD YOU ALLOW MORE OF THEM THAN THERE ARE BONDS TO INSURE? WELL, THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS. BECAUSE THAT'S JUST GAMBLING ABOVE THAT LEVEL. IT'S VERY MUCH LIKE ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO WHEN THE PRICE OF OIL, OR ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO NOW, THE PRICE OF OIL WENT TO $147 A BARREL IN DAY TRADING. AND I MADE THE POINT ON THE FLOOR THERE WAS 20 TIMES MORE OIL BOUGHT AND SOLD EACH DAY THAN THERE WAS PRODUCED EACH DAY. JUST AN UNBELIEVABLE ORGY OF SPECULATION IN THE OIL MARKET. NEARLY BROKE THAT MARKET. WELL, IT FINALLY CAME BACK DOWN AND THE PEOPLE THAT MADE THE MONEY ON THE UPSIDE ALSO MADE MONEY ON THE DOWNSIDE. BUT, YOU KNOW, THAT'S -- THAT'S WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING IN THIS ECONOMY NOW FOR FAR TOO LONG. AND THE BILL THAT SHOULD COME TO THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE -- AND MY HOPE IS THAT PERHAPS THE NEXT VOTE WE'LL HAVE A COUPLE OF FOLKS ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT AGREE WITH US -- LET'S BRING A BILL TO THE SENATE, LET'S ADDRESS THESE ISSUES THAT CAUSED THIS UNBELIEVABLE AVALANCHE OF GREED ON WALL STREET AND ELSEWHERE, AND -- AND LET'S TIGHTEN THE REINS SO THIS CAN'T HAPPEN -- REIGNS SO THIS CAN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. DO WE REALLY WANT THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN? I SHOWED YESTERDAY ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE I THINK FOUR EXAMPLES OF COMPANIES THAT ARE STILL ADVERTISING. DO YOU HAVE BAD CREDIT IN COME TO US, WE'LL GIVE YOU A LOAN. DO YOU HAVE NO IDEA, SLOW PAY? COME TO US, WE'LL GIVE YOU A LOAN. YOU'VE BEEN BANKRUPT? COME TO US, WE WANT TO GIVE YOU A LOAN. IT'S STILL GOING ON. AND ALL OF THIS IS ABOUT SECURITIZING EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY MAKING BIG FEES AND BEING PAID BIG BONUSES. THERE'S A SMARTER WAY TO DO FINANCING AND BANKING IN THIS COUNTRY. WE'VE WATCHED IT WORK FOR DECADES AND IT GOT FAR AFIELD IN THE LAST DECADE OR TWO AND WE NEED TO PULL IT BACK IN AND SAY THAT'S NOT WHAT OUR COUNTRY'S ABOUT. THE FREE MARKET SYSTEM IS THE BEST ALLOCATOR OF GOODS AND SERVICES THAT I'M AWARE OF, BUT IT IS NOT PERFECT. SOMETIMES THERE ARE FOULS IN THE FREE MARKET SYSTEM. SOMETIMES PEOPLE TRY TO MANIPULATE IT AND DO SO SUCCESSFULLY. THAT'S WHY YOU NEED A REFEREE AND IT'S WHY YOU NEED EFFECTIVE REGULATIONS THAT WORK. AND THAT'S WHAT THE BILL IS ABOUT, PUTTING TOGETHER THOSE EFFECTIVE REGULATIONS THAT WORK THAT WILL PREVENT THIS KIND OF ECONOMIC COLLAPSE FROM HAPPENING AGAIN. THIS IS NOT JUST SOME ACADEMIC EXERCISE. THERE WERE SOMEWHERE AROUND 16 MILLION TO 17 MILLION PEOPLE TODAY IN THIS COUNTRY WHO WOKE UP THIS MORNING AND ARE JOBLESS AND DON'T HAVE ANY WORK. AND SOME OF THEM NOT ONLY FEEL JOBLESS BUT THEY FEEL HELPLESS AND HOPELESS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T FIND WORK. AND SOME OF THEM, BY THE WAY, HAVE NOT ONLY LOST THEIR JOB, THEY'VE LOST THEIR HOMES. THIS IS A VERY DEEP RECESSION WE'VE BEEN IN AND IT'S CAUSED UNBELIEVABLE PAIN ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. BUT NOT FOR EVERYBODY, BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN SOME OF THE LARGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE NOW SHOWING RECORD PROFITS AND PAYING RECORD BONUSES. AND THE QUESTION IS: ARE THEY DOING THAT BECAUSE THEY'RE MAKING LOANS OUT THERE TO BUSINESSES THAT ARE READY TO RECOVER AND EXPAND? NO, THE ANSWER'S, UNFORTUNATELY, NO. ONCE AGAIN, THEY ARE TRADING SECURITIES BACK AND FORTH, EXCHANGING FEES, SECURITIZING VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING. THERE'S A MUCH BETTER WAY TO DO FINANCING AND BANKING IN THIS COUNTRY TO WILL STRENGTHEN THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY. AND I WANT TO GET AT THE BUSINESS OF GETTING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR, HAVING THE MINORITY STOP BLOCKING US AND BEGIN OFFERING AMENDMENTS SO THAT WE CAN GET THE BEST OF WHAT BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE TO OFFER. IT'S BEEN LONG -- A LONG, LONG TIME SINCE WE'VE HAD THAT SORT OF THING HAPPEN ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. I WAS HOPING THAT IF THERE'S ONE, ONE THING THAT MIGHT GALVANIZE SOME BIPARTISANSHIP IN THIS BODY, IT MIGHT BE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNBELIEVABLE EX EXCRUCIATING PAIN THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE FELT SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND PERHAPS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS CONGRESS DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT TO PREHE VENT THIS SORT OF THING FROM HAPPENING AGAIN. I GUESS THAT WAS TOO MUCH TO HOPE FOR AT LEAST UNTIL NOW. ON WEDNESDAY I WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY -- ON TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, AND FRIDAY AND PERHAPS GET ONE OR TWO PEOPLE TO AGREE WITH US AND SAY, YES, LET'S BRING THIS THING TO THE FLOOR, OFFER AMENDMENTS, DEBATE AMENDMENTS AND DO WHAT'S NECESSARY FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. I KNOW THAT THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE SOME BIG DISAGREEMENTS WITH THIS BILL. BUT, YOU KNOW WHAT? I HAVE SOME BIG DISAGREEMENTS WITH THEM. I THINK WHAT'S GONE ON IS PRETTY UNBELIEVABLE. AND THEY HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN THIS COUNTRY'S FUTURE GOING AHEAD. BUT IT'S NOT A ROLE I CONSIDER TO BE BETTING. IT'S A ROLE I CONSIDER TO BE INVESTING. IF THEY WANT TO CONTINUE TO SIMPLY MAKE WAGERS ABOUT AMERICA AND ABOUT SECURITIES, THAT IS NOT THE FINANCING SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE KNOWN AND GROWN TO BELIEVE IS IMPORTANT FOR THIS COUNTRY'S FUTURE. MADAM PRESIDENT, I -- I KNOW THAT THERE'S A LOT OF DISAPPOINTMENT AFTER THIS LAST VOTE, BUT MY HOPE IS THAT THERE WILL BE SOME WHO CONTINUE TO THINK AND RETHINK IS THIS WHAT MY CONSTITUENTS WANT? DO THEY REALLY WANT ME TO JUST DECIDE TO EVEN BLOCK THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THESE UNBELIEVABLE GAPING HOLES IN OUR FINANCIAL STRUCTURE THAT ALLOWED THIS COUNTRY TO BE STEERED RIGHT INTO THE DITCH, THE BIGGEST ECONOMIC WRECK IN 70 YEARS? I THINK THEY WOULD UNDERSTAND THAT'S NOT WHAT THEIR CITIZENS AND CONSTITUENTS WANT FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR AND MAKE A POINT OF ORDER THAT A QUORUM IS NOT PRESENT.

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  • 01:17:28 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: A SENATOR: MADAM PRESIDENT?

  • 01:18:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND.

  • 01:18:35 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 01:18:40 PM

    MR. CARDIN

    MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST EXPRESS TO MY COLLEAGUES HOW DISAPPOINTED I…

    MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST EXPRESS TO MY COLLEAGUES HOW DISAPPOINTED I AM THAT WE WERE UNABLE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE DEBATE ON WALL STREET REFORM. I THINK PEOPLE IN THIS NATION SHOULD KNOW THAT WHAT WAS ON THE FLOOR THAT WE RECENTLY VOTED ON WAS A MOTION TO PROCEED SO A BILL COULD BE BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE FOR DEBATE. IT DID NOT AT ALL SPEAK TO HOW THAT BILL WOULD BE CONSIDERED ON THE FLOOR. IT'S OPEN TO AMENDMENT. AND EACH MEMBER OF THE SENATE WOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT AMENDMENTS FOR THE -- FOR CONSIDERATION. THE BILL THAT SENATOR DODD HAS BROUGHT OUT OF HIS COMMITTEE IS A BILL THAT ESTABLISHES THE TYPES OF REFORMS OF WALL STREET THAT IS NECESSARY. STRICT NEW REGULATIONS TO STOP WALL STREET GAMBLING SO THAT WE HAVE A CLEAR, RESPONSIBLE -- RESPONSIBILITY IN THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK SO EACH OF THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS UNDERSTAND THE CLEAR ROLES IN WHICH THEY MUST OPERATE UNDER AND HOW THOSE REGULATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE. THE FRAMEWORK IS BASED ON THE SIZE OF THE INSTITUTION AND THE JURISDICTION OF THE INSTITUTION. THE BILL PROVIDES FOR ADEQUATE CAPITAL TO PREVENT TOO BIG TO FAIL. OUR FIRST GOAL HERE IS TO AVOID AN INSTITUTION TO BE FROM BECOMING SO LARGE AND SO VULNERABLE THAT ITS FAILURE JEOPARDIZES THE ECONOMY OF OUR NATION. WELL, IF WE HAVE A CLEAR REGULATORY STRUCTURE AND WE HAVE THE RIGHT CAPITAL RULES AND WE HAVE RIGHT REGULATORY OVERSIGHT, WE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF PROTECTING THE PUBLIC'S INTEREST. THAT'S WHY THE STRICT NEW GUIDELINES TO STOP WALL STREET GAMBLING IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT SO THAT WE DON'T RUN INTO THAT SITUATION IN THE PAST. SO MORE TAXPAYER BAILOUTS. I HEAR THAT OVER AND OVER AGAIN FROM MY CONSTITUENTS, AND I AGREE. IF AN INSTITUTION CAN'T MAKE IT, IT SHOULD FAIL. IT SHOULDN'T BE GETTING A GOVERNMENT BAILOUT. THIS BILL MAKES IT CLEAR: NO MORE GOVERNMENT BAILOUTS. IT GIVES THE REGULATORS THE AUTHORITY THEY NEED. THE AUTHORITY THEY NEED TO INTERVENE A LOT EARLIER. IF NECESSARY, TO RESTRUCTURE THE INSTITUTION OR TO BREAK IT APART OR TO HAVE IT MERGE OR TO CLOSE IT DOWN. AND IT DOESN'T INVOLVE PUBLIC FUNDS. YOU HAVE THE REGULATORY STRUCTURE. TODAY WE SEE INSTITUTIONS THAT CALL THEMSELVES BANKS THAT ARE NOT REGULATED -- OR ACT LIKE BANKS AND ARE NOT REGULATED UNDER BANKING STATUTES. WE FIND INSURANCE COMPANIES THAT CLAIM THAT THEIR INSURANCE -- THEY'RE INSURANCE COMPANIES, BUT THEY DO THINGS OTHER THAN INSURANCE AND GET THEMSELVES INTO TROUBLE AND THERE'S NO REGULATORY CONSISTENCY. WELL, THAT'S CHANGED WITH THE BILL THAT SENATOR DODD HAS BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR. THIS BILL PUTS CONSUMERS IN CONTROL OF INFORMATION IN PLAIN ENGLISH BY A STRONG CONSUMER PROVISION WITHIN THE BILL. WELL, THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ADEQUATE -- NECESSARY. WE -- WE KNOW TODAY THAT CONSUMERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES ARE BEING VICTIMIZED UNDER OUR CURRENT FINANCIAL STRUCTURE. CONSUMERS HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED BY PREDATORY LENDING. SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED BY BANKS THAT WON'T MAKE LOANS TO SMALL BUSINESSES. WE NEED A STRONG CONSUMER PRESENCE IN THIS -- IN THIS BILL. SENATOR DODD IN HIS BILL HAS BROUGHT OUT AN INDEPENDENT CONSUMER AGENCY SO WHAT THIS BILL PROVIDES IS TOUGH REGULATION, A FRAMEWORK IN WHICH WE CAN INTERVENE EARLIER IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR ECONOMY. NO GOVERNMENT BAILOUT AND A WAY IN WHICH CONSUMER ISSUES CAN BE HANDLED INDEPENDENTLY TO PROTECT THE CONSUMERS OF THIS NATION. SO WHY NOT MOVE FORWARD? I'M PUZZLED. I TRULY AM PUZZLED AND I LISTENED TO MY COLLEAGUES WHO OPPOSE -- BRINGING THIS BILL FORWARD TO SPEAK ON THE FLOOR, AND I -- I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND THEIR ARGUMENT. BECAUSE IF WE MOVE FORWARD, AMENDMENTS ARE IN ORDER. AMENDMENTS THAT ARE GERMANE WILL HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED. THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE VOTED ON. THAT'S THE RULES OF THE SENATE FOR US TO MOVE THE BILL OFF THE FLOOR WE'RE GOING TO NEED AT LEAST 60 VOTES. WE KNOW THAT. IT SHOULD BE AN OPEN -- AN UP OR DOWN VOTE. BUT WE KNOW FROM THE PRIOR RECORD THAT THE MINORITY WILL INVEST ON 60 VOTES. WE SHOULD BE WILLING ON AN IMPORTANT ISSUE LIKE THIS TO VOTE UP OR DOWN. BUT THEY STILL HAVE THAT RIGHT. SO THEY'RE NOT JEOPARDIZING THE ABILITY OF THE MINORITY TO BLOCK THE FINAL CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL. BUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS BLOCKING THE DEBATE ON THE BILL. AND THE ONLY THING I CAN THINK OF IS THEY WOULD PREFER TO WORK OUT THEIR ISSUES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS RATHER THAN ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED UNITED STATES SENATE. AND THE REASON, MADAM PRESIDENT, TO ME, IS KIND OF -- KIND OF SELF-EVIDENT. IF YOU'RE TRYING TO WEAKEN THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK AND YOU DON'T WANT YOUR FINGER PRINTS ON IT, IT WOULD BE -- FINGERPRINTS ON IT, IT WOULD BE EASIER TO DO THAT OUTSIDE THE SPOTLIGHT OF THIS CHAMBER. OR IF YOU'RE TRYING TO DIMINISH THE CONSUMER PROTECTIONS THAT ARE IN THIS BILL, YOU WOULD CERTAINLY RATHER HAVE THAT IN A BILL BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR THAN HAVING TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT TO CHANGE IT. SO I CAN ONLY PRESUME FROM THIS DELAY THAT THE OPPOSITION IS NOT TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH, BUT THE OPPOSITION IS TO AVOID THE PUBLIC KNOWING THE CHANGES THAT THEY'RE SEEKING IN THE BILL OR TO WEAKEN THIS BILL OR EVEN WORSE IN HOPES THAT THE MAJOR SECTIONS OF THIS BILL WILL BE DLEETD OR -- DELETED OR STRUCK. THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS PROCESS SHOULD BE ABOUT. WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH WALL STREET REFORM. WE ALL KNOW HOW OUR ECONOMY WAS BROUGHT TO NEAR BRINK OF DESTRUCTION. WE KNOW HOW MANY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE BEEN ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY WHAT HAPPENED ON WALL STREET. PEOPLE IN MARYLAND TO PEOPLE IN THIS NATION ARE SAYING: LET'S REFORM WALL STREET. LET'S MAKE SURE THAT THE RECKLESS GAMBLING DOESN'T TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTURE. LET'S MAKE SURE THAT TOO BIG TO FAIL ENDS. LET'S MAKE SURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. THE DODD BILL IS A VERY GOOD START TO THAT PROCESS. DEBATING THE ISSUE IS WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THE DELAY HERE IS AIMED AT PREVENTING THE PUBLIC FROM KNOWING WHAT IS GOING ON OR, EVEN WORSE, TO WEAKEN THIS BILL OR TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T PASS. I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO RECONSIDER. LET US MOVE FORWARD AND DEBATE THE WALL STREET REFORM BILL. LET US GET ON WITH THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS FIRST, OUR NATION'S SECURITY FIRST, OUR NATION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH FIRST. LET'S BRING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR FOR IMMEDIATE DEBATE. WITH THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 01:26:16 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 01:30:37 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT.

  • 01:30:39 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 01:30:44 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    PRESIDENT, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, THE FEDERAL…

    PRESIDENT, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, THE FEDERAL RESERVE, THE FED, HAS PROVIDED OVER $2 TRILLION IN TAXPAYER-BACKED LOANS AND OTHER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR SOME OF THE LARGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND CORPORATIONS IN THE WORLD. LET ME REPEAT THAT. OVER $2 TRILLION, WITH A T, $2 TRILLION. OVER A YEAR AGO, AS A MEMBER OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, I ASKED BEN BERNANKE, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FED, A VERY SIMPLE QUESTION. A VERY SIMPLE QUESTION. COULDN'T BE SIMPLER. AND THE QUESTION IN SO MANY WORDS WAS, MR. BERNANKE, YOU LENT OUT $2 TRILLION. WHO GOT THAT MONEY? WHO RECEIVED THAT MONEY? WHAT WERE THE TERMS OF THOSE LOANS? AND MR. BERNANKE'S ANSWER WAS NO, I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU, SENATOR SANDERS, I'M NOT GOING TO TELL THE BUDGET COMMITTEE, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND I THINK THAT THAT IS OUTRAGEOUS. I THINK WHEN $2 TRILLION OF TAXPAYERS' MONEY IS PLACED AT RISK, THE MEMBERSHIP HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW. HOW MANY DEBATES HAVE WE HAD HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE ABOUT LEGISLATION OF $5 MILLION, OF $30 MILLION? FEVERISH DEBATE, WHETHER IT'S A GOOD IDEA OR A BAD IDEA. AND NOW YOU'RE LOOKING AT TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY BEING PLACED AT RISK, AND WE DON'T KNOW WHO RECEIVED THAT. THAT, TO ME, IS AN OUTRAGE AND THAT, TO ME, IS UNACCEPTABLE. ON THAT VERY DAY AFTER BEN BERNANKE DENIED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHO RECEIVED THOSE LOANS, I INTRODUCED LEGISLATION REQUIRING THE FED TO PUT THAT INFORMATION ON THEIR WEBSITE. MADAM PRESIDENT, YOU KNOW AS WELL AS I DO THAT MILLIONS OF LIVES HAVE BEEN RUINED BY THE GREED, THE RECKLESSNESS AND THE ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR OF WALL STREET, AND WHILE THE FED WAS PROVIDING SECRET LOANS AT VIRTUALLY NO INTEREST TO SOME OF THE LARGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY, MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WERE LOSING THEIR JOBS, THEIR HOMES, THEIR LIFE SAVINGS, THEIR ABILITY TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO COLLEGE. AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE SAME WALL STREET FIRMS THAT THE FED WAS PROPPING UP. SO YOU HAVE A SITUATION WHERE ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY, FAMILIES ARE SUFFERING, SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF AFFORDABLE LOANS, AND YET YOU HAVE THE FED PROVIDING TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE PEOPLE WHO CAUSED THE RECESSION AND TO SOME OF THE WEALTHIEST AND MOST POWERFUL C.E.O.'S IN THE COUNTRY. THE VERY LEAST THAT WE CAN DO FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IS TO TELL THEM, TO GIVE THEM THE INFORMATION AS TO WHO GOT BAILED OUT BY THE FED. I DON'T THINK THAT THAT IS TOO MUCH TO ASK. WE HAVE TO EXPLORE WHETHER OR NOT THERE WERE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. HOW DOES IT WORK WHEN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS GET HUGE AMOUNTS OF ZERO OR NEAR ZERO INTEREST LOANS? WHO SITS ON THE COMMITTEE? ARE THERE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST? WE HAVE TO KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE THE CASE, THAT SOME OF THOSE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT RECEIVE BILLIONS IN ZERO OR NEAR ZERO INTEREST LOANS MAY HAVE INVESTED THAT MONEY IN T BILLS, IN TREASURY BONDS EARNING 3% OR 4%. NOW, WHAT KIND OF SCAM IS THAT? YOU HAVE ZERO INTEREST LOANS FROM THE FED AND YOU INVEST IN GOVERNMENT-BACKED T BONDS AT 3% OR 4%. THATTHAT IS AN INCREDIBLE SCAM. DID SOME OF THOSE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS DO THAT? I SUSPECT THEY DID, BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DID WITH THAT MONEY AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO FIND OUT. MADAM PRESIDENT, LET US BE VERY CLEAR, THE MONEY PUT AT RISK DOES NOT BELONG TO THE FED. IT BELONGS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHERE THEIR TAXPAYER DOLLARS ARE GOING. THEREFORE, MADAM PRESIDENT, DURING THE DEBATE ON FINANCIAL REFORM, I WILL BE OFFERING AN AMENDMENT TO AUDIT THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND TO REQUIRE THAT THE FED RELEASE ALL OF THE DETAILS REGARDING THE MORE THAN $2 TRILLION IN VIRTUALLY ZERO INTEREST LOANS THE FED HAS PROVIDED TO LARGE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS. THIS AMENDMENT -- YOU KNOW, WE TALK A LOT AROUND HERE ABOUT THE NEED FOR BIPARTISANSHIP OR TRIPARTISANSHIP. I'M AN INDEPENDENT. WELL, THIS AMENDMENT REALLY DOES THAT. I DON'T KNOW THAT THERE IS ANY AMENDMENT OUT THERE THAT IS MORE -- THAT HAS MORE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. THIS AMENDMENT IS BEING COSPONSORED BY SENATORS FEINGOLD, LEAHY, WYDEN, DORGAN AND BOXER, DEMOCRATS. IT IS BEING COSPONSORED BY SENATORS DeMINT, McCAIN, GRASSLEY, VITTER, BROWNBACK, GRAHAM, RISCH, AND WICKER, REPUBLICANS. BUT QUITE SIGNIFICANTLY ON THE BASE BILL THAT I INTRODUCED FROM WHICH THIS AMENDMENT COMES, THIS LEGISLATION IS BEING SUPPORTED BY 32 COSPONSORS, AND THAT IS 22 REPUBLICANS AND 10 DEMOCRATS. THEY RUN THE GAMUT FROM SOME OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE TO SOME OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE, AND THE SENATORS WHO ARE SUPPORTING THE BASE BILL ARE SENATORS BARRASSO, BENNETT OF UTAH, BOXER, BROWNBACK, BURR, CARDIN, CHAMBLISS, COBURN, DeMINT, DORGAN, FEINGOLD, GRAHAM, GRASSLEY, HARKIN, HATCH, HUTCHISON, INHOFE, ISAKSON, LANDRIEU, LEAHY, LINCOLN, McCAIN, THUNE, WICKER, AND WYDEN. THAT IS A VERY BROAD CROSS-SECTION OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. FROM SOME OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE TO SOME OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE MEMBERS ON THE BASE BILL WHO SAY IT IS ABSURD THAT THE FED CAN LEND OUT TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS WITHOUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOWING WHO HAS RECEIVED THAT MONEY. AND LET ME JUST TELL YOU WHAT OUR AMENDMENT WOULD DO, AND IT'S PRETTY SIMPLE. NUMBER ONE, IT WOULD REQUIRE THE NONPARTISAN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, THE G.A.O., TO CONDUCT AN INDEPENDENT AND COMPREHENSIVE AUDIT OF THE FED WITHIN ONE YEAR, AND SECONDLY, IT WOULD REQUIRE THE FED TO DISCLOSE THE NAMES OF THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT RECEIVED OVER $2 TRILLION IN VIRTUALLY ZERO INTEREST LOANS SINCE THE START OF THE RECESSION. THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE WHOLE AMENDMENT, PRETTY SIMPLE. AND I WOULD HOPE AND EXPECT THAT WE WOULD HAVE WIDESPREAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THIS AMENDMENT WHEN IT GETS TO THE FLOOR. MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS AMENDMENT ALSO HAS WIDESPREAD COMMUNITY SUPPORT FROM ORGANIZATIONS ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY. IT HAS THE SUPPORT OF AMERICANS FOR FINANCIAL REFORM, A COALITION OF OVER 250 CONSUMER, EMPLOYEE, INVESTOR, COMMUNITY, AND CIVIL-RIGHTS GROUPS, INCLUDING THE AFL-CIO AND THE AARP. I SHOULD ALSO MENTION THAT INCREASING TRANSPARENCY AT THE FED IS OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO SEE IN -- WANT TO SEE, AND POLL AFTER POLL SUGGEST THAT. MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS BILL IS SIMILAR -- THIS AMENDMENT IS SIMILAR TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE TRANSPARENCY ACT THAT WAS INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE BY CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL AND NOW HAS 320 BIPARTISAN COSPONSORS. THAT'S A LOT. 435 MEMBERS, 320 ARE ON THE HOUSE BILL. AND A VERSION OF THAT BILL PASSED THE HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE BY A VOTE OF 43-28 AND WAS INCORPORATED INTO THE FINANCIAL REFORM BILL THAT PASSED THE HOUSE LAST DECEMBER. SO NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE WIDESPREAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN THE SENATE. SENATE, THAT SAME TYPE OF SUPPORT EXISTS IN THE HOUSE. LAST WEEK THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, NANCY PELOSI, SAID THE CONGRESS SHOULD ASK THE FED TO PUT THIS INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET, LIKE THEY'VE DONE WITH THE RECOVERY PACKAGE. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THIS BILL WOULD DO. MADAM PRESIDENT, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE WIDESPREAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN THE CONGRESS, NOT ONLY IS THE HOUSE MOVING VIGOROUSLY ON THIS ISSUE ALREADY, BUT IMPORTANTLY, BUT THE COURTS HAVE RULED IN SUPPORT OF WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO. BLOOMBERG NEWS HAS BEEN VERY AGGRESSIVE ON THIS ISSUE AND THEY HAVE WON TWO COURT DECISIONS REQUIRING THE FED TO RELEASE THIS INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC. BUT DESPITE WIDESPREAD CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT, DESPITE TWO COURT DECISIONS, THE FED CONTINUES TO RESIST THE TRANSPARENCY WHICH OUR COUNTRY DESPERATELY NEEDS. MADAM PRESIDENT, AS LONG AS THE FED IS ALLOWED TO KEEP THE INFORMATION ON THEIR LOAN SECRET, WE MAY NEVER KNOW THE TRUE FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THE BANKING SYSTEM, AND THIS HAS RESULTED IN A WHOLE MYRIAD OF PROBLEMS, AND I THINK IT'S TIME THAT WE BROUGHT SOME SUNSHINE TO THE GOINGS-ON OF THE FED. MADAM PRESIDENT, LET ME JUST CONCLUDE BY SAYING THIS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE OUTRAGED, REGARDLESS OF THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS, BY THE BEHAVIOR OF WALL STREET. THEY HAVE SEEN THE GREED OF WALL STREET LEAD US INTO A RECESSION IN WHICH MILLIONS OF JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST, HOMES HAVE BEEN LOST, SAVINGS HAVE BEEN LOST, FAMILIES HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, AND THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO EVERYTHING THAT WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT WHAT CAUSED THIS TERRIBLE RECESSION NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN, AND I THINK ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT WE CAN DO IN TERMS OF WALL STREET REFORM IS TO BRING TRANSPARENCY TO THE FED. SO MADAM PRESIDENT, THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY SIMPLE AMENDMENT. THIS IS AN AMENDMENT THAT HAS GRASSROOTS SUPPORT. THIS IS AN AMENDMENT THAT HAS SUPPORT FROM THE MOST PROGRESSIVE AND CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS, AND WHEN I BRING THIS AMENDMENT UP, I WOULD CERTAINLY HOPE THAT WE CAN GET A GREAT DEAL OF SUPPORT FROM MEMBERS OF THE SENATE. I WOULD BE VERY PLEASED TO YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS.

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  • 01:42:25 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    TO ASK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT, THROUGH THE CHAIR, ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE IN…

    TO ASK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT, THROUGH THE CHAIR, ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE IN THIS BILL RELATIVE TO THE INTEREST RATES THAT ARE BEING CHARGED ACROSS AMERICA, AND I'D LIKE TO ASK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT IF HE WOULD TELL ME HIS TAKE OR EVALUATION OF THE PROVISION IN THIS BILL WHICH EXEMPTS USURY LAWS AND INTEREST RATES FROM THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION AGENCY. I KNOW THAT THE PRESIDING OFFICER HERE HAS AN INTEREST IN SOME EXPLOITATION THAT IS OCCURRING IN HER STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND FRANKLY IN MY STATE OF ILLINOIS AND PROBABLY ACROSS THIS NATION ARE THE SO-CALLED PAYDAY LOANS AND TITLE LOANS OPERATIONS WHERE AVERAGE PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING ECONOMICALLY GO IN FOR HIGH INTEREST LOANS THAT ARE THEN ROLLED OVER TIME AND TIME AND TIME AGAIN UNTIL THEY LOSE WHATEVER SECURITY HAS BEEN OFFERED FOR THE LOAN AND FRANKLY FIND THEMSELVES EVEN DEEPER IN DEBT. I'D LIKE TO ASK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT WHO I HAVE DISCUSSED THIS WITH ON MANY OCCASIONS HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION AND THE INTEREST RATES BEING CHARGED ACROSS THIS NATION.

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  • 01:43:40 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    THANK MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS FOR RAISING THAT QUESTION, AND I WANT TO…

    THANK MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS FOR RAISING THAT QUESTION, AND I WANT TO CONGRATULATE HIM BECAUSE OUR COLLEAGUES SHOULD KNOW HE HAS BEEN A LEADER ON THIS ISSUE FOR MANY YEARS AND HAS ALREADY ACHIEVED SOME SIGNIFICANT SUCCESS. MY MEMORY IS THAT WE HAD PAYDAY LENDERS. IF YOU CAN BELIEVE THIS, MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'RE CHARGING MEN AND WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES WHO IN MANY CASES DON'T HAVE A LOT OF MONEY, WHO ARE TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR FAMILIES, OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH INTEREST RATES ON CHECK CASHING AND PAYDAY LOANS, AND THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS LED THE EFFORT SUCCESSFULLY TO PUT A CAP ON THAT, AND I THANK HIM VERY MUCH FOR DOING THAT. THAT'S A START, BUT CLEARLY AS THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS INDICATES, WE HAVE GOT TO GO FURTHER. AND HERE'S THE STORY. MADAM PRESIDENT, JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, THERE WAS A RALLY RIGHT HERE ON CAPITOL HILL LED BY RELIGIOUS GROUPS, RELIGIOUS GROUPS WHO SAID THAT IT IS IMMORAL AND UNACCEPTABLE THAT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WHAT WE ARE NOW SEEING IS USURY AND LOAN SHARKING TAKING PLACE BY SOME OF THE LARGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY. SO WE'RE NOT JUST TALKING, I WOULD SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, ABOUT AN ECONOMIC ISSUE, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A BASICALLY MORAL ISSUE. AND IF YOU READ THE BIBLE, THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE KORAN, EVERY MAJOR RELIGION ON THIS PLANET HAS SAID THAT USURY IS IMMORAL. THAT IF YOU ARE DESPERATE AND YOU NEED MONEY, I CANNOT CHARGE YOU OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH INTEREST RATES. THAT'S JUST IMMORAL AND THE WRONG THING TO DO. AND YET IN THIS COUNTRY TODAY, AS A RESULT OF SOME SUPREME COURT DECISION SOME YEARS AGO, YOU HAVE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE PAYING 25%, 30%, 40%, 45% INTEREST RATES. AND THIS IS NOT FROM LOAN SHARK GANGSTERS ON A STREET CORNER IN CHICAGO. THIS IS FROM SOME OF THE LARGEST LARGEST, MOST DISTINGUISHED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE WORLD. WE'VE GOT TO PUT AN END TO THAT. AND I WOULD TELL MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS THAT THE LEGISLATION THAT WE HAVE OFFERED WOULD PUT A CAP OF 15% EXCEPT UNDER EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES ON THE INTEREST RATES THAT THE BANKS CAN CHARGE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND WE CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT CREDIT UNIONS IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE BEEN DOING FOR SEVERAL DECADES AND THEY'VE BEEN DOING IT SUCCESSFULLY.

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  • 01:46:20 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I'D LIKE TO ASK THROUGH THE CHAIR AGAIN THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT, FIRST, I…

    I'D LIKE TO ASK THROUGH THE CHAIR AGAIN THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT, FIRST, I WANT TO GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE. THE ORIGINAL AMENDMENT THAT HE TALKED ABOUT THAT PROTECTED MILITARY FAMILIES WAS OFFERED BY SENATOR JIM TALENT OF MISSOURI. AND I SUPPORTED IT, EVERYONE SUPPORTED IT, BECAUSE WE FOUND MEN AND WOMEN IN THE MILITARY, TRAINED TO DEFEND OUR COUNTRY, WHO SIGNED UP FOR THESE PAYDAY LOANS AND QUICK LOANS, THEY BECAME SO DEEPLY MIRED IN DEBT THEY WERE FORCED TO LEAVE MILITARY SERVICE. AND SO WE SAID AS A MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY, WE CAN'T SACRIFICE WELL-TRAINED MEN AND WOMEN WHO CAN KEEP US SAFE AS A NATION TO LOAN SHARKS WHO HAVE THESE STOREFRONT OPERATIONS IN MY HOMETOWN OF SPRINGFIELD AND YOUR HOMETOWN OF IN VERMONT AND ALL ACROSS THE NATION. I WOULD SAY TO THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT, HE AND I HAVE JOKED ABOUT THIS A LITTLE BIT, BUT I TRIED TO COME UP WITH A NUMBER AND SAID THIS WILL BE THE MAXIMUM INTEREST RATE THAT CAN BE CHARGED. I WENT TO A MUTUAL FRIEND WHO I RESPECT AND SAID, WHAT IS A NUMBER THAT NO ONE CAN ARGUE WITH? AND SHE SAID 36%. AND WHEN I MENTIONED THAT NUMBER TO PEOPLE BACK IN ILLINOIS AND OTHER PLACES, THEY'RE AGHAST. THEY SAID, WE DON'T WANT TO PAY 36% FOR ANYTHING. AND I SAID, I DON'T EITHER, BUT THIS IS LIKE A CEILING. WELL, IT TURNED OUT IT'S A LITTLE MORE CONFUSING THAN ILLUMINATING, AND I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT IS CERTAINLY RIGHT WITH THE CAP THAT HE IS SUGGESTING. NOW, IS IT NOT TRUE, I ASK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT, THAT AS THIS ROLL CALL VOTE REFLECTS, THAT IF THE REPUBLICAN SENATORS IN THIS CHAMBER CONTINUE THIS FILIBUSTER AGAINST THIS FINANCIAL REFORM BILL, THIS WALL STREET REFORM BILL, THIS CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BILL, WE CAN'T EVEN ENGAGE IN THIS DEBATE, LET ALONE THIS AMENDMENT, TO TRY TO PROTECT FAMILIES ACROSS AMERICA FROM BEING PREYED UPON BY THESE OUTRAGEOUS, REPTILIAN CREDIT OPERATIONS.

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  • 01:48:20 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    WELL, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, MADAM PRESIDENT, IS, OF COURSE,…

    WELL, THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, MADAM PRESIDENT, IS, OF COURSE, ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. AND WHAT THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS, THE POINT THAT HE IS MAKING, WHICH MAKES EMINENT SENSE, IS IF OUR FRIENDS DISAGREE, IF OUR FRIENDS WANT TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT, IF THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO ALTER THE BILL, THAT IS THEIR RIGHT, THAT IS WHAT THE SENATE IS ABOUT. BUT WE CAN'T PROCEED AND GO FORWARD IN PUTTING A CAP ON THE OUTRAGEOUS INTEREST RATES THAT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE CHARGING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THE LOAN SHARK, UNLESS WE GET THIS BILL GOING. WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT FED TRANSPARENCY UNLESS WE GET THIS BILL GOING. SO I CERTAINLY AGREE WITH MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS, PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO DISAGREE, BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE DISGUSTED AND FRUSTRATED WITH WHAT'S GOING ON ON WALL STREET. THEY WANT ACTION. AND TO SIMPLY HAVE OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS SAYING, NO, NO, NO, WE'RE NOT GOING FORWARD DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME.

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  • 01:49:18 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    SENATOR FROM VERMONT THROUGH THE CHAIR, AS INFORMATIVE AND ENTERTAINING AS…

    SENATOR FROM VERMONT THROUGH THE CHAIR, AS INFORMATIVE AND ENTERTAINING AS OUR PRESENTATIONS ARE ON THE FLOOR, THE FACT IS THAT 98 CHAIRS HERE ARE EMPTY ON THE SENATE FLOOR, CHAIRS THAT COULD BE FILLED WITH MEMBERS OF THE SENATOR FROM BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES DEBATING THE ISSUES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, ACTUALLY VOTING ON AMENDMENTS, PROPOSING CHANGES IN THE LAW TO ULTIMATELY WORK WITH THE HOUSE AND SEND IT TO THE PRESIDENT TO SOLVE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS FACING OUR NATION. BUT AS LONG AS WE ARE FACING -- AND WE'VE HAD THREE FILIBUSTERED VOTES SO FAR THIS WEEK; MORE TO FOLLOW -- AS LONG AS WE ARE FACING THIS REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER, WE'RE NOT ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN -- WHERE NOT ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN SENATOR WILL BREAK WITH THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS OR THE WALL STREET POSITION THAT OPPOSES ANY REFORM, WE CAN'T EVEN BRING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE SO THAT WE CAN ADDRESS THE BIGGEST ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CHALLENGE AMERICA HAS FACED IN DECADES.

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  • 01:50:15 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    MAPS MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST SAY MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS -- I…

    MAPS MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD JUST SAY MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS -- I ILLINOIS IS EXACTLY RIGHT. YOU'VE GOT THE 57 MEMBERS OF THE SENATE WHO WANT TO GO FORWARD, YOU'VE GOT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WHO WANT TO GO FORWARD. YOU'VE GOT 57 SENATORS HERE WHO WANT TO GO FORWARD. NOW IS THE TIME TO GO FORWARD. I WOULD ADD TO WHAT MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS JUST SAID. LET'S BE -- LET'S BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT THIS. LAST YEAR IN 2009, AS I UNDERSTAND IT. OUR FRIENDS ON WALL STREET WHO ARE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT CONGRESS DOES NOTHING TO REFORM THE WAY THEY DO BUSINESS -- THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT; LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT IT -- DWHEUN THEY DOYOU KNOW WHAT THEY SPENT LAST YEAR? I WOULD TELL MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS THAT MY UNDERSTANDING IS THEY SPENT $300 MILLION ON LOBBYING AND CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS. AND I KNOW MY FRIEND FROM ILLINOIS KNOWS THAT YOU CAN'T WALK AROUND THE CAPITOL WITHOUT BUMPING INTO ONE OR ANOTHER LOBBYIST REPRESENTING WALL STREET. AND WHY ARE THEY HERE? WHY ARE THEY REPRESENTING HEDGE FUND MANAGERS WHO MAKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN A YEAR? THEY WANT TO CONTINUE TO BE ABLE TO DO THE EXACT SAME THINGS THEY'VE DONE IN THE PAST WHICH HAS LED TO THIS TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE RECESSION. SO LET'S NOT BE NAIVE. THERE ARE HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY FLOODING CAPITOL HILL RIGHT NOW AND THE GOAL IS, NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY MAY SAY, LET'S DO NO WALL STREET REFORM.

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  • 01:51:45 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT FOR YIELDING FOR QUESTIONS, AND I WOULD…

    I THANK THE SENATOR FROM VERMONT FOR YIELDING FOR QUESTIONS, AND I WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR AND UNLESS SOMEONE SEEKS --

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  • 01:51:54 PM

    MR. SANDERS

    WOULD JUST LIKE TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS FOR HIS CONTINUED…

    WOULD JUST LIKE TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS FOR HIS CONTINUED EFFORTS ON WALL STREET REFORM AND THE EXCELLENT WORK THAT HE HAS DONE.

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  • 01:52:01 PM

    MR. DURBIN

    I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

  • 01:52:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

  • 01:55:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS.

  • 01:55:26 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I WOULD MAKE A MOTION THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE…

    THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. I WOULD MAKE A MOTION THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE SUSPENDED.

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  • 01:55:32 PM

    MR. BURRIS

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. WE JUST WITNESSED A FEW MOMENTS AGO THE THIRD TRY TO…

    YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT. WE JUST WITNESSED A FEW MOMENTS AGO THE THIRD TRY TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT FINANCIAL REFORM LEGISLATION IN THIS BODY. AND FOR THE THIRD TIME, IT WENT DOWN. YOU KNOW, MADAM PRESIDENT, I'M AN OLD BASEBALL PLAYER. I PLAYED A LOT OF BASEBALL IN MY YOUNG DAYS, AND THERE'S A RULE IN BASEBALL THAT SAYS THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE OUT. WE'RE AT THREE TRIES AT THIS FINANCIAL REFORM AND I WILL TELL THE DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, WE'RE NOT OUT, THAT WE'RE JUST BEGINNING TO FIGHT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE'RE CONFRONTED BECAUSE WE'RE FIGHTING ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. EARLIER THIS WEEK, OUR DISTINGUISHED MAJORITY LEADER CALLED FOR A VOTE TO OPEN THE DEBATE ON MAJOR FINANCIAL REFORM AND WE'VE SEEN WELL-DESIGNED PROPOSALS FROM THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT, CHAIRMAN DODD. THIS BILL REFLECTS THE PRIORITIES ARTICULATED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SUPPORTED BY AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IT WILL END THESE SO-CALLED TWAILTOO-BIG-TO-FAIL AND PREVENT MASSIVE BANKS FROM MAKING RISKY DECISIONS THAT THREATEN THE ENTIRE AMERICAN ECONOMY. IT WILL ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR GOVERNMENT BAILOUTS. AND IT WILL INSTITUTE COMMONSENSE REGULATIONS SO COMPANIES CAN CREATE INVESTMENT THAT ARE DESIGNED TO -- THAT'S DESIGNED TO FAIL AND THEN BET AGAINST THEM. IN SHORT, THIS LEGISLATION IS A GOOD STARTING POINT, MADAM PRESIDENT. AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE'VE HEARD CHAIRMAN DODD SAY TIME AND TIME AGAIN WE HAVE TO GET IT ON THE FLOOR SO THAT WE CAN IMPROVE THIS LEGISLATION. I KNOW I'M SUPPORTING A COUPLE AMENDMENTS THAT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO IMPROVE THE LEGISLATION. IT MAY NOT BE THE COMPLETE WALL STREET REFORM PACKAGE IN ITS FINAL FORM BUT IT CONTAINS A NUMBER OF GOOD PROVISIONS AND IT IS WORTH DEBATING SO I'M ASKING MY COLLEAGUES, LET'S STOP DEBATING TO DEBATE. THE MAJORITY LEADER SCHEDULED A VOTE TO BRING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR SO MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES CAN OFFER AMENDMENTS AND MAKE IMPROVEMENTS. THIS IS NOT A VOTE ON THE LEGISLATION ITSELF, MADAM PRESIDENT. LEADER REID WAS NOT ASKING THE SENATE TO PASS THE BILL WITHOUT DEBATE OR WITHOUT AMENDMENT. HE SIMPLY WANTED TO START THE PROCESS. TO BEGIN DELIBERATIONS ON THE FLOOR OF THIS CHAMBER IN FRONT OF C-SPAN CAMERAS AND IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. BUT WHEN THE ROLL WAS CALLED AND MY COLLEAGUES AND I CAME TO THE CHAMBER, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS VOTED TO BLOCK THE DEBATE PLUS ONE OF OURS. SO WE TRY AGAIN, I HOPE THIS AFTERNOON, IF NOT TOMORROW, BUT WE'RE NOT PLAYING BASEBALL HERE ON THE FLOOR. THIS IS NOT THE ALL-AMERICAN GAME BUT IT IS THE ALL-AMERICAN FUTURE. THERE WAS A SECOND VOTE -- THERE WAS A SECOND VOTE TO START DEBATE AND MOVE ON HEAD IN THIS PROCESS AND IT TAKES UP CONSIDERATION OF FINANCIAL REFORM. BUT FOR A THIRD TIME, MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS STOOD IN THE WAY. THEY KNOW THEY WILL HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY TO TRY AND DEFEAT THE BILL ONCE IT'S ON THE FLOOR, BUT THEY HAVE DECIDED TO DRAG THEIR FEET ANYWAY. MADAM PRESIDENT, WE'VE SEEN THIS KIND OF THING BEFORE. THIS IS THE SAME REPUBLICAN PLAYBOOK WE SAW WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM. THE SAME OBSTRUCTIONISM, THE SAME TIRED POLITICS. IN THE PAST THERE HAVE BEEN -- THEY'VE BEEN ABLE TO USE THIS STRATEGY TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS, BUT THIS TIME I WOULD RESPECTFULLY SUGGEST THAT OUR REPUBLICAN FRIENDS HAVE MISCALCULATED. THE ISSUE OF HEALTH CARE REFORM WAS COMPLICATED, SO WHEN IT CAME TIME FOR DEBATE, IT WAS EASY TO DISTRACT AND DELAY AND SPREAD MISINFORMATION. IT WAS EASY TO MUDDY THE WATERS AND -- SO THEY COULD GAIN TRACTION IN DELAYING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S AGENDA. WHEN THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE WAS OVER, GOOD POLICY WON OUT OVER GOOD POLITICS AND WE PASSED THE BILL. BUT NOT BEFORE MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE HAD SCORED SOME POLITICAL POINTS. THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT. FINANCIAL REFORM, ITSELF, IS VERY COMPLEX. THAT'S WHY IT IS SO EASY FOR BIG BANKS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CONSUMERS. THAT'S WHY IT'S DIFFICULT TO APPLY THE KIND OF OVERSIGHT WE WOULD -- WE ACTUALLY SHOULD HAVE SEEN IN THE YEARS LEADING UP TO THE RECENT COLLAPSE. THE ISSUE ITSELF IS HARD, MADAM PRESIDENT. THIS TIME AROUND THE TACTICS OF DISTRACTION AND DELAY WILL NOT WORK. THAT'S BECAUSE THE AMERICANS ARE SMARTER THAN THAT. THEY KNOW WHO THE BAD GUYS ARE. ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO LEHMAN BROTHERS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST DOMINOES TO FALL. NEXT CAME BERNIE MADOFF AND THEN A HANDFUL OF OTHER PONZI SCHEMES CAME CRASHING DOWN. MOST RECENTLY, AND JUST AS YESTERDAY AS YOU WITNESSED THE HEARING AT GOLDMAN SACHS, ONE OF THE LARGEST AND MOST RESPECTED FIRMS ON WALL STREET HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH FRAUD. MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN IT COMES TO FINANCIAL REFORM, WE KNOW WHERE THE PROBLEMS LIE. MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS CAN TRY TO DISTRACT AND OBSTRUCT ALL THEY WANT BUT THEY WILL NOT SUCCEED IN CONFUSING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. ORDINARY FOLLOWING HAVE HAD THEIR POCKETBOOKS BLED DRY BY THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS. THEY'VE SEEN THEIR HARD-EARNED SAVINGS DISAPPEAR AND THEIR FUTURE BECOME DRASTICALLY -- OR DRAMATICALLY LESS SECURE. AND THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHO TO BLAME. FOR FAR TOO LONG WALL STREET BANKS HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO RELAXED OVERSIGHT. AS A RESULT, THE FOCUS OF THEIR BUSINESS HAS CHANGED. IT STOPPED BEING ABOUT LENDING MONEY TO BUSINESSES, MAKING SMART INVESTMENTS, AND ENCOURAGING FREE ENTERPRISE. WHEN I WAS IN THE BANKING BUSINESS, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT'S WITH A WE -- THAT'S WHAT WE DID. I WAS AT THE LARGEST BANK IN ILLINOIS, THE SEVENTH LARGEST BANK IN AMERICA, WHERE WE MADE LOANS, COLLECTED INTEREST AND TOOK DEPOSITS IN AND PAID THEM INTEREST AND KEPT THE ECONOMY GOING. INSTEAD, MADAM PRESIDENT, WALL STREET HAS BASICALLY TURNED INTO A CASINO. LOOK AT THE DERIVATIVES MARKET. HERE YOU PARTICULARLY HAVE AN OBJECT THAT IS TRADED WHICH HAS NO VALUE OF ITS OWN. IT HAS NO TIES TO THE ACTUAL ECONOMY. THERE'S NO PRODUCT OR BUSINESS IDEA, NO ACTUAL INVESTMENT. IT'S JUST A HIGH-STAKES BET WITHOUT INTELLIGENT RISK MANAGEMENT CAPITAL STANDARDS AND BASIC RULES OF THE ROAD, THESE BETS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO UNDERMINE THE STRENGTH OF OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY. WALL STREET IS A CASINO GONE WILD AND THEY'RE GAMBLING WITH OUR MONEY. IT'S NOT THEIR MONEY. AND THEY'RE MAKING MONEY OVER OUR MONEY. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. THEY CAN SEE THROUGH THE DISTRACTIONS AND THE POLITICAL POSTURING. THEY RECOGNIZE THE NEED TO REFORM WALL STREET SO WE CAN END BAILOUTS WITH COMMONSENSE RULES IN PLACE AND MAKE SURE WE NEVER EXPERIENCE THIS KIND OF ECONOMIC CRISIS EVER AGAIN. SO I'M NOT SURE WHAT MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS HOPE TO GAIN BY BLOCKING OUR DEBATE ON THIS BILL. THEY SAID THAT THEY WANT TO IMPROVE IT. BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO DO ONCE IT'S ON THE FLOOR. MAYBE THEY BELIEVED THAT THEY CAN WATER DOWN OUR REFORM PACKAGE BY DRAGGING OUT THIS PROCESS. MAYBE THEY THINK THE CHANCE TO HOLD SOME ON WALL STREET BEFORE THEY HAVE TO TAKE A VOTE ON THE LEGISLATION ITSELF OR MAYBE THEY SIMPLY DON'T HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN AND THEY KNOW THAT THEY CAN'T WIN THIS ARGUMENT ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE WITH THE EYES OF THE NATION ON THEM. I'M NOT SURE WHAT THEY HOPE TO GAIN BY STALLING FINANCIAL REFORM. BUT I URGE THEM TO LET US MOVE AHEAD WITH THIS PROCESS. TO MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, PLEASE, LET US MOVE AHEAD WITH THIS PROCESS. I URGE THEM TO SET ASIDE THESE POLITICAL TACTICS AND BRING THESE IDEAS TO THE TABLE SO THAT WE CAN STRENGTHEN THIS BILL AND MAKURE OUR ECONOMIC -- AND MAKE SURE OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE SAFE. I CALL ON THEM TO AMENDING AND IMPROVING THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION RATHER THAN DRAGGING THEIR FEET ON THE BILL THAT HAS SO MUCH PUBLIC SUPPORT. WHEN WE PASS THIS INTO LAW, AFTER EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION, IT WILL BE A VICTORY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND IF MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS JOIN US IN THIS EFFORT, IT CAN BE A VICTORY FOR BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL BENEFIT BY THIS LEGISLATION. THIS DESERVES TO BE DEBATED IN OPEN SESSION. I ASK MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS, LET US MOVE AHEAD. BUT IF THEY WILL NO. IF THEY CONTINUE TO DELAY AND OBSTRUCT, THEN I CHALLENGE THEM TO COME TO THIS FLOOR AND EXPLAIN WHY. I CHALLENGE ANY ONE OF MY DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO WALK INTO THE SENATE CHAMBER TODAY AND SEEK RECOGNITION FROM THE CHAIR. I CHALLENGE THEM TO STAND BEFORE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND TELL THEM WHY AMERICAN FAMILIES SHOULD BE ASKED TO FUND WALL STREET RECKLESS -- RECKLESSNESS AND GREED. I WANT THEM TO EXPLAIN IT TO ME, MR. PRESIDENT. I BELIEVE WE NEED TO END THESE PRACTICES. I BELIEVE WE NEED TO TAKE UP THE ISSUE OF FINANCIAL REFORM WITHOUT DELAY. AND IF MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE DISAGREE, IT IS CERTAINLY THEIR PRIVILEGE TO DO SO. BUT I BELIEVE THEY OWE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AN EXPLANATION. AND I'M PRETTY SURE IT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY THEY'RE HOLDING UP THIS IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR. A SENATOR: THE SENATOR --

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  • 02:08:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MISSOURI IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 02:08:17 PM

    MR. BOND

    TO JOIN IN THIS DEBATE AND I INVITE MY FRIEND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE…

    TO JOIN IN THIS DEBATE AND I INVITE MY FRIEND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO LISTEN AND OUR HOME COMMUNITIES ARE SAYING. AND DON'T SPEND TIME SOLICITING FUNDS ON WALL STREET. MR. PRESIDENT, LET'S BE VERY CLEAR. WE ALL AGREE THAT WE NEED TO HOLD WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE HABIT WREAKED ON MAIN STREET. WE ALL AGREE THAT WE NEED TO ENACT REFORM TO PREVENT ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS. WHERE WE DISAGREE IS WHAT RESPONSIBLE REFORM LOOKS LIKE. I HAVE REAL CONCERNS THAT IN ITS CURRENT FORM, THE DEMOCRATS' BILL, WRITTEN WITH THE WHITE HOUSE, IS A MASSIVE GOVERNMENT OVERREACH WHICH WILL PUNISH MAIN STREET, HURT FAMILIES, AND COST JOBS BY STIFLING SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS. TO SUM IT UP, DEMOCRATS WANT TO TREAT MAIN STREET, OUR COMMUNITY BANKS, OUR FARM LENDERS, YOU OUR AUTO LENDERS LIKE THEY WERE GOLDMAN SACHS OR OTHERS ON WALL STREET. WE, AS REPUBLICANS, WANT TO ENSURE THAT WE FIX WALL STREET WITHOUT CRIPPLING MAIN STREET. THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO FORCE THE DEMOCRATS TO LISTEN TO THE CONCERNS OF MAIN STREET, TO OPEN THIS UP AND MAKE IT A BIPARTISAN PROCESS. IT HAS NOT BEEN AND IT ISN'T GOING TO BE UNTIL WE GET SOME DISCUSSIONS AND REAL SUBSTANTIVE CHANGES IN WHAT I VIEW AS A VERY DANGEROUS BILL TO THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE AND THE ECONOMIC HEALTH OF OUR COUNTRY, OUR STATES, AND OUR COMMUNITIES AND THE CREATION OF JOBS. TODAY LET ME SHARE WITH YOU SOME OF THE CONCERNS I'VE HEARD FROM MAIN STREET. LIKE FAMILIES IN EVERY COMMUNITY AND EVERY STATE IN THE UNION, SMALL BUSINESSES WERE THE VICTIMS. THEY WEREN'T THE PERPETRATORS OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS CALLED AMONG OTHER PLACES ON WALL STREET. SMALL BUSINESSES WERE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND SHOULD NOT BE TREATED AS IF THEY WERE. BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THIS BILL DOES. THIS 1,400-PAGE BILL REACHES FAR BEYOND WALL STREET AND WILL IMPOSE NEW COSTS AN ONEROUS NEW REGULATIONS ON SMALL BUSINESSES TO FIX A PROBLEM THEY WERE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CAUSING. IN SHORT, THIS BILL WILL CHANGE THE WAY EVERY AMERICAN DOES BUSINESS. WE'RE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT THE WAY WALL STREET BANKS DO BUSINESS, BUT ALSO HOW EVERY COMMUNITY BANKER, LOCAL DENTIST, FARM LENDER, AUTO DEALER AND OTHER BUSINESSES DEPENDING UPON OR HAVING SOME CREDIT EXPOSURE DOES BUSINESS. AND I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO TAKE TIME AWAY FROM THE FLOOR AND LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE AT HOME. THEY HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT MESSAGE THAN THAT WHICH WE'RE HEARING FROM OUR FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. THE CONCERNS ARE NOT JUST REPUBLICAN CONCERNS. I HOPE THAT MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE ARE ALSO HEARING FROM THEIR CONSTITUENTS BACK HOME ABOUT DISTURBING PROVISIONS IN THE DEMOCRAT PROPOSALS AND HAVE BEGUN TO AGREE WITH SENATE REPUBLICANS THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE BEFORE WE BRING THIS 1,400 PAGE MONSTROSITY TO THE FLOOR. NOW, DON'T MISUNDERSTAND ME. LIKE NEARLY TWO-THIRDS OF ALL AMERICANS WHO FAVORED SOME SORT OF REFORP OF WALL STREET, -- REFORM OF WALL STREET, SO DO I AND MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES, BUT WE NEED RESPONSIBLE AND BIPARTISAN REFORM THAT ALL CAN BE PROUD OF. I WANT TO WORK WITH MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS OF MISSOURIANS. FIRST, I CONTINUE TO BE STUMPED THAT ANY REAL REFORM IN A FINANCIAL SYSTEM WOULD IGNORE FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC WHICH WERE SIGNIFICANT IF NOT MAJORITY CONTRIBUTORS TO THE CRISIS. BUT THAT'S WHAT THIS BILL DOES. THAT'S A MISTAKE. SO IS LEAVING OUT THE RATING AGENCIES WHO GAVE TRIPLE -- AAA RATINGS, THE BAD PAPER THOSE FOISTED ON THE SYSTEM. FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC CONTRIBUTED TO THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN BY BUYING HIGH-RISK LOANS MADE TO PEOPLE WHO COULD NOT AFFORD THEM. IN ADDITION TO THE COST TO TAXPAYERS, THESE RESPONSIBLE AMERICAN -- THESE RESPONSIBLE -- IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIONS TURNED THE AMERICAN DREAM INTO THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE FOR TOO MANY FAMILIES WHO FACE FORECLOSURE, LOST THEIR HOMES, WHICH DEVASTATED ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS AND COMMUNITIES AS A PROPERTY -- AS THE PROPERTY VALUES DIMINISHED AS WELL AS THE CREDIT RATING OF THE FAMILIES DISPLACED. RESPONSIBLE REFORM MUST ADDRESS THE G.S.E.'S. RESPONSIBLE REFORM WOULD PUT AN END TO THE TAXPAYER FUNDED BAILOUT OF FREDDIE AND FANNIE AND REFOCUS THEM ON PROMOTING AFFORDABLE HOUSING. THAT'S WHAT'S CRITICAL IN REFORMING WALL STREET, WE ARE NOT PUNISHING MAIN STREET. INSTEAD WE SHOULD BE PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS STARTUPS THAT ARE SO CRITICAL TO JOB CREATION. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS BILL WILL KILL SMALL BUSINESS STARTUPS. WHILE TITLE 9 OF THE DODD BILL HAS BEEN LITTLE NOTICED, IT WOULD HAVE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES. SPECIFICALLY, THIS PROVISION WOULD KILL SMALL BUSINESS STARTUPS BY DELAYING AND LIMITING THE AVAILABLITY OF PRIVATE INVESTOR SEED CAPITAL WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE STARTUP SURVIVAL AND GROWTH. THROUGH NEW, BURDENSON REGULATIONS BY THE S.E.C., INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS WOULD BE SUBJECT TO REGISTERING WITH THE COMMISSION FOR A FOUR-MONTH REVIEW BEFORE THEY COULD GET OUT AND START SOLICITING MONEY. THIS TYING UP OF VITAL VENTURE CAPITALS WITH CAPITAL DOLLARS NEEDED FOR IMMEDIATE USE BY SMALL BUSINESS WOULD CRIPPLE THEIR STARTUP EFFORTS. THIS IS NOT A MEASURE THAT'S GOING TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM WALL STREET. THIS IS NOT A MEASURE NEEDED BECAUSE VENTURE CAPITAL AND SMALL STARTUP ENTREPRENEURS AND INNOVATORS WERE CAUSING THE CRISIS. NO, THEY'RE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO THE JOBLESS PROBLEMS WE HAVE NOW. THIS IS -- THIS PROVISION IS AN OVERREACH BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHICH WOULD SHUT DOWN JOB CREATION MAIN STREET PROVIDES AND THIS COUNTRY DESPERATELY NEEDS. RAISING THE NET WORTH THRESHOLD FOR THOSE WHO CAN INVEST IN THESE VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS TO TO $2.3 MILLION FROM THE EXISTING $1 MILLION AND REMAIN -- AND RAISING THE ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME THRESHOLD TO TO $450,000 AS THE DODD BILL PROPOSES TO DO WOULD DISQUALIFY TWO-THIRDS OF THE CURRENT ACREDITED ININVESTIGATORS ACCORDING TO "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,". THESE ARE THE INVESTORS WHO OTHERWISE COULD HELP FUND SMALL START-UPS, IN YOUR COMMUNITIES AND MINE. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHOM THESE INNOVATORS, THESE ENTREPRENEURS HAVE TO GO. AND YOU'RE MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GET THE MONEY THEY NEED. THEREFORE, SOME WOMAN, SOME MAN WITH A GREAT IDEA IS MUCH LESS LIKELY IN YOUR HOMETOWN TO BE ABLE TO GET THE FUNDS SHE OR HE NEEDS TO START A BUSINESS. I BELIEVE STRONGLY, AND I HAVE ALWAYS SAID AND WILL CONTINUE TO SAY, THAT SMALL BUSINESSES AND START-UP COMPANIES ARE THE BACKBONE OF OUR COUNTRY. AND I UNDERSTAND THE CRITICAL ROLE THAT THESE SO-CALLED ANGEL INVESTORS CAN PLAY IN THE CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NEW COMPANIES, SMALL OR LARGE. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY POSITION. RIGHT NOW IN MISSOURI, I HAVE BEEN WORKING TO HELP BUILD AN AGRIBIOTECH CORRIDOR ACROSS THE STATE. WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO FOSTER A WHOLE NEW INDUSTRY IN ADVANCED AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND BIOTECHNOLOGY. THIS AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND BIOTECH INDUSTRY IS OUR BEST OPPORTUNITY TO STIMULATE AND CREATE HIGH-PAYING, SKILLED JOBS IN RURAL MISSOURI, RURAL AMERICA, AND IN THE CITIES AS WELL. THESE STIMULUS BIOTECH COMPANIES ARE SPURRING -- THEY ARE BEING SPURRED IN MISSOURI, ALSO ARE HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES ACROSS THE NATION. ACCORDING TO THE KAUFMAN FOUNDATION LOCATED IN KANSAS CITY, BETWEEN 1980-2005, COMPANIES LESS THAN FIVE YEARS OLD ACCOUNTED FOR ALL, ALL JOB GROWTH IN THE U.S. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE SAME STUDY SHOWED IN 2008, ANGEL INVESTORS PROVIDED ROUGHLY ROUGHLY $19 BILLION IN MORE THAN 55,000 COMPANIES. YOU'RE GOING TO PUT AN END TO THAT WITH THIS BILL? LET'S GO BACK AND THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE WE BRING THIS MONSTROSITY TO THE FLOOR. THE NEW BILL IF ENACTED WOULD DENY IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE CAPITAL. IF ENACTED, IT WOULD SAY TO INNOVATORS AND ENTREPRENEURS, YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO SUCCEED, TOO SMALL TO SURVIVE. NOW, THAT'S FAR DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THIS BILL WAS PROMISED AND PROMOTED AS DOING, OF STOPPING TOO BIG TO FAIL. YES, I'M GOING TO SEE IN MY COMMUNITIES AND YOU'RE GOING TO SEE IN YOUR COMMUNITIES TOO SMALL TO SURVIVE. THAT IS NOT WHERE WE SHOULD BE GOING. KILLING SMALL BUSINESS START-UPS AND JOBS ON MAIN STREET IS NOT THE ONLY UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE OF THE DEMOCRATS' CURRENT PROPOSAL THAT HAVE COME TO LIGHT. CAUGHT UP IN THE DEMOCRATS' FERVOR TO PASS A BILL, ANY BILL, WITHOUT CAREFUL CONSIDERATION ARE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. MILITARY AND THEIR FAMILIES. LAST WEEK, I HEARD FROM ACTIVE DUTY AND RETIRED MILITARY MEMBERS WHO FEAR THIS BILL WOULD HURT THEIR FINANCIAL SECURITY. YOU SEE, UNDER THE DEMOCRATS' BILL, THE UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION, USAA, A FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE PROVIDER FOR MEMBERS OF THE U.S. MILITARY AND THEIR FAMILIES, WOULD AFTER AN 87-YEAR TRACK RECORD NO LONGER BE ABLE TO MANAGE THEIR OWN PORTFOLIO. ALSO AS A RESULT OF THE DODD BILL, THIS COMPANY THAT SERVES OUR MILITARY AND VETERANS WOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO OFFER CERTAIN COMPETITIVE PRODUCTS TO SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES JEOPARDIZED AND THEIR ABILITY TO RETURN MONEY TO SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES LIMITED BY THIS MASSIVE EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY. THIS MUST BE FIXED. I WOULD URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO LISTEN TO THE MILITARY AND VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN YOUR STATES, SEE WHAT THEY THINK. UNFORTUNATELY, THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE OF THE BILL JUST KEEP PILING UP. THE NEXT MAJOR CONCERN I HAVE HEARD FROM IN MISSOURI, THE COMMUNITY BANKS THAT PROVIDE CRITICAL LENDING TO FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESS, IS THE CREATION OF THE SO-CALLED CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAUS. CFPB. THIS MASSIVE NEW GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY HAS UNPRECEDENTED AUTHORITY AND ENFORCEMENT POWERS TO IMPOSE MANDATES ON ANY ENTITIES THAT EXTEND CREDIT. WE'RE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT BIG WALL STREET BANKS HERE, BUT ALSO YOUR COMMUNITY BANKER, YOUR LOCAL DENTIST. DENTISTS ARE TELLING ME THAT THEY HAVE TO OFFER CREDIT, THEY WOULD BE REGULATED. FARM LENDERS. FARM LENDERS WOULD FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO BE ABLE TO OPERATE TO MAKE THEIR FARM LOANS AND TO BE ABLE TO HEDGE THE RISKS THAT THEY NORMALLY DO. THE AUTO DEALERS WHO CAN SELL CARS ONLY THROUGH THE BENEFIT OF PRIVATE SECTOR FINANCING. AS A RESULT, THERE WILL BE NO CHOICE TO PASS THE COSTS ON FOR THIS FINANCE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THEY CAN GET IT TO THE CONSUMERS, THE VERY PEOPLE THIS BILL IS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT. AND IT MAY CUT SOME OF THEM OUT OF GETTING CREDIT ALL TOGETHER. THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, A STRONG VOICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS, VOICED THEIR SERIOUS CONCERN OVER THE CREATION OF THIS NEW BUREAUCRACY. I'M SURE YOU ALL HAVE RECEIVED IT, BUT IF YOU HAVE NOT, I WOULD URGE YOU TO CHECK YOUR MAIL BECAUSE THE LETTER FROM THE NFAIB TO CONGRESS SAYS -- "THESE SMALL BUSINESSES HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WALL STREET MELTDOWN AND SHOULD NOT BE FACED WITH ONEROUS KNEW AND DUPLICATIVE REGULATIONS BECAUSE OF A PROBLEM THEY DID NOT CAUSE. FURTHER, AS THE MOST RECENT NFIB SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIC TREND SURVEYS SHOW SMALL BUSINESSES CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE WITH LOST SALES AND SUCH REGULATIONS COULD MAKE THESE PROBLEMS WORSE. STIFLING ANY SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY." CLOSE QUOTES. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY'RE SAYING. WE DO THIS, SMALL BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO BE EVEN LESS LIKELY TO BE ABLE TO CREATE JOBS. WE HAVE ALREADY PUT TOO MUCH DEBT ON THE FEDERAL -- ON THE FEDERAL BOOKS. WE'RE THREATENING TO INCREASE OUR TAXES BY A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT, AND NOW WE SEE REGULATIONS THAT ARE GOING TO INTERFERE WITH OUR NORMAL CREDIT OPERATIONS. THAT IS A CAUSE FOR CONCERN. THIS VERY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, THE STIMULUS BILL DIDN'T TOUCH OTHER THAN GETTING MORE PEOPLE WORKING FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WHICH WAS SUPPOSED TO BRING OUR UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DOWN TO 8%. IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO FAIL AND FAIL MISERABLY IF WE STIFLE THE ABILITY OF SMALL BUSINESS TO CREATE JOBS. NOW, THE ONLY WAY TO ENSURE THAT THE CFPB DOES NOT UNINTENTIONALLY HURT MAIN STREET BUT STILL PROTECTS CONSUMERS IS TO NARROW THE SCOPE AND AUTHORITY WITH CLEAR LANGUAGE OUTLINING EXACTLY WHO THIS NEW REGULATOR WILL REGULATE AND WHAT IT WILL DO. INSTEAD OF UNLIMITED AUTHORITY, THIS NEW REGULATOR SHOULD FOCUS ON THE SHADOW BANKING ENTITIES, OPERATING OUTSIDE OF THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK AND PREYING ON VULNERABLE PEOPLE. THE BANKS AND THE SAVINGS AND LOANS THAT ISSUE LOANS ARE REGULATED BY GOVERNMENT REGULATORS. ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THESE LARGE LOANS LIKE HOME LOANS REGULATED? A LOT OF AREAS ARE NOT. CFPB COULD LOOK AT THOSE. I HAVE PROPOSED TWO YEARS AGO THE MORTGAGE ORIGINATION COMMISSION TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYBODY ORIGINATED MORTGAGES WAS REGULATED BY SOME APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCY. WELL, WE HAVEN'T DONE IT. WE ALSO NEED TO ENSURE THAT WE'RE NOT EMPOWERING THROUGH THIS NEW GOVERNMENT AGENCY REGULATOR THE SAME ORGANIZATIONS WHICH PUSHED HOMEOWNERS AT ANY COST -- HOMEOWNERSHIP AT ANY COST ONTO FAMILIES THAT COULD NOT AFFORD TO REPAY THEIR LOANS. THIS IS ONE OF THE KEY PROBLEMS WE HAD. PEOPLE WHO COULDN'T AFFORD HOMES WERE TOLD THAT THEY COULD GET THEM WITH NO DOWN PAYMENT. EVEN IF THEY HAVE BAD CREDIT. IF THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO HAVE A HOME, THEY WERE TOLD THEY COULD HAVE A HOME ANYHOW. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO SAW THE AMERICAN DREAM TURN INTO THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHOSE HOUSES WERE FORECLOSED, THEIR FAMILIES THROWN OUT, THEIR COMMUNITIES DEVASTATED, AND ULTIMATELY THE ENTIRE NETWORK, NOT ONLY OF AMERICA'S FINANCIAL SYSTEM BUT THE WORLD'S FINANCIAL SYSTEM BROUGHT DOWN BY THIS BAD PAPER. SURELY, MY COLLEAGUES WOULD NOT WANT TO VOTE FOR A BILL THAT CREATES A NEW GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY WITHOUT KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT THE BUREAUCRACY IS EMPOWERED TO DO AND IF IT WILL TAKE ON THE REAL BAD ACTORS WHO GOT US INTO THIS MESS. THE CFPB IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW THE ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH OF THIS HURRIED LEGISLATION WILL HAVE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT CONTRIBUTE TO THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN. TREATING COMMUNITY BANKS LIKE GOLDMAN SACHS IS A MISTAKE AND ONE WE CANNOT AFFORD TO MAKE. IF WE ARE AWARE OF THESE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES NOW, WHY WON'T WE CORRECT THEM NOW? WHY DO MY COLLEAGUES WANT TO BRING THESE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES IN THE BILL CLOSER TO BEING CODIFIED INTO LAW ON THE SENATE FLOOR? NOW, IF YOU WANT TO HAVE SOME REAL CONSUMER PROTECTION, I HAVE PURCHASED SEVERAL HOMES AS WE HAVE MOVED AROUND RECENTLY, AND I CAN TELL YOU THE BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION IS REPEAL ALL THE LAWS THAT REQUIRE A STACK OF PAPER THAT HIGH THAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SIGN SAYING YOU HAVE READ IT AND YOU HAVE GOT CONSUMER PROTECTION, WITH A VERY SIMPLE ONE OR TWO-PAIRNLG FORM. -- TWO-PAGE FORM. I HAVE TALKED ABOUT THAT BEFORE. FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ADEQUATELY INFORMED ON FINANCIAL SITUATIONS, THE ONE THING WE FOUND OUT WHEN I JOINED WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE, SENATOR DODD, IN PUSHING HOME FORECLOSURE COUNSELING, IS WE WORK WITH AGENCIES THAT WERE COUNSELING PEOPLE WHO WERE LOSING THEIR HOME TO FORECLOSURE. THESE AGENCIES WERE CRYING OUT, THEY SAID WE NEED, WE NEED FINANCIAL COUNSELING FOR THESE PEOPLE BEFORE THEY GET INTO HOMES. THAT'S THE BEST WAY TO AVOID FORECLOSURE. LET'S GO BACK TO THAT. I MEAN, IT SOUNDS SIMPLE, BUT IT HAPPENS TO BE THE THING THAT WOULD WORK. I DOUBT MY DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES INTEND TO PASS A BILL THAT WILL HURT FAMILIES EVERY TIME THEY TURN ON THE LIGHT SWITCH AND TRY TO HEAT THEIR HOME, BUT THAT'S WHAT THIS BILL IN ITS CURRENT FORM WILL DO. ONCE AGAIN, TRYING TO GO FOR THE EASY ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH TO ENTITIES THAT IT DOES NOT FIT IN ANY WAY. THE $592 TRILLION OVER-THE-COUNTER DERIVATIVES MARKET NEEDS STRONGER RULES OF TRANSPARENCY, THE THINGS THAT WILL RUN THROUGH WALL STREET. SOME OF THESE DERIVATIVES TRADED IN THIS MARKET HAVE PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE RECENT CRISIS THROUGH PRODUCTS LIKE CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. I'VE CALLED THESE DERIVATIVES COMPUTER GAME DERIVATIVES. THEY WERE SO COMPLEX, THEY WERE SOMETHING SOMEBODY THOUGHT UP AND RAN IT THROUGH A COMPUTER. YOU KNOW WHAT? OUR REGULATORS FELL DOWN ON THE JOB. THEY DIDN'T LOOK AT THESE DERIVATIVES. THEY WERE NOT TRANSPARENT. THEY WERE NOT REGULATED. SOME OF THAT IS THE FAULT OF THE REGULATORS WHO ARE NOW SCRAMBLING TO COME IN AND FILE SUITS FORGOT TO DO. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO REGULATE AND MAKE SURE THAT THESE PRODUCTS THAT ARE COMPLICATED ARE FULLY TRANSPARENT AND RELATED TO REALITY AND GO TO THOSE WHO ARE AT LEAST SOPHISTICATED. YOU CAN'T GUARANTEE THAT THEY WIN OR LOSE, BUT AT LEAST KNOW WHAT THEY ARE, MAKE SURE THEY ARE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY EVERYBODY, GET THE RATING AGENCIES TO JUDGE THEM INDEPENDENTLY, NOT AS CAPTURED ENTITIES FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ISSUE THEM AND WILL PAY THE REGULATOR -- PAY THE RATING AGENCY IF THEY GET THE RATING THEY WANT. BUT THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE COMPUTER GAME DERIVATIVES OR THE VERY SOPHISTICATED DERIVATIVES THAT ARE TRADED ON WALL STREET. YOU CAN MAKE GOOD FINANCIAL ARGUMENTS FOR THEM SO LONG AS THEY ARE TRADED ON AN EXCHANGE, THE WALL STREET DERIVATIVES, SO LONG AS SOMEBODY IS LOOKING AT THEM TO MAKE SURE THERE IS SOME INTEGRITY IN THEM. BUT NOT ALL DERIVATIVE ACCOUNTS POSE SYSTEMIC RISKS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS BY -- INITIATED BY ENERGY COMPANIES, UTILITIES AND THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY ARE USED TO MANAGE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR DAILY COMMERCIAL OPERATION, FROM COST FLUCTUATIONS IN MATERIALS AND COMMODITIES TO FOREIGN CURRENCY USED IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS. THESE END USERS, THESE COMMODITY HEDGERS MAKE UP LESS THAN 3% OF THE MARKET, AND I DON'T KNOW OF ANY FARMER OR ANY FARM AGENCY OR ANY UTILITY WHO CAUSED THE CRISIS ON WALL STREET BY ENTERING INTO A LONG-TERM SUPPLY AND PURCHASE CONTRACT. THERE'S NO REASON TO MAKE THIS BE TRADED ON AN EXCHANGE WHEN YOU HAVE GOT AN ONGOING PARTNER. NO REASON TO REQUIRE COLLATERAL TO BE POSTED. THE END USERS AS THEY ARE CALLED DO SO IN ORDER TO PLAN PRODUCER PRICING SO THEY CAN PROVIDE THE LEAST EXPENSIVE GOOD OR SERVICE TO THE CONSUMERS POSSIBLE. COSTLY MARGIN REQUIREMENTS FOR THE END USERS WILL BE DIRECTLY PASSED ON TO THEIR FAMILIES. AND GUESS WHO PAYS FOR THAT. THAT'S US. THAT'S US. BECAUSE ALL AMERICANS WILL SEE THEIR COSTS GO UP, WHENEVER THEY TURN ON THEIR LIGHTS, PUT FOOD ON THEIR TABLE AND USE ANY FORM OF TRANSPORTATION, WHETHER IT BE CARS, TRUCKS, BUSES OR AIRPLANES. THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT MUST BE FIXED. FOR THE PURPOSE OF MY TIME ON THE FLOOR, I WON'T GO INTO EACH AND EVERY PROBLEM I HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE BILL. I HAVE ONLY BEEN GIVEN MINUTES TO SPEAK RATHER THAN HOURS, BUT THE CONCERNS I HAVE OUTLINED ARE CRITICAL. THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES ON WHICH I HAVE SHINED THE LIGHT MUST BE STOPPED. AMERICANS DO NOT WANT ANOTHER MASSIVE FLAWED BILL THAT WILL KILL MORE JOBS, MAKE IT HARDER TO GET A HOME OR CAR LOAN OR MAKE IT MORE EXPENSIVE TO HEAT THEIR HOMES. YES, AMERICANS ARE RIGHTFULLY ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED ABOUT THE BAD ACTORS ON WALL STREET WHO CAUSED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, COSTING MANY AMERICANS THEIR JOBS AND EVEN THEIR HOMES. AMERICANS ARE RIGHTFULLY ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED ABOUT THE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS COMMITTED TO RESCUING THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY WHEN SO MANY OF THEM ARE STILL STRUGGLING TO PAY THEIR BILLS. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE I'M HEARING FROM. I AGREE WITH THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WHO BELIEVE IT IS UNFAIR FOR BAD ACTORS WHO CAUSED THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS TO GET BAILED OUT WITH THEIR TAX DOLLARS, WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS, WHEN THERE IS NO BAILOUT FOR FAMILIES WHO LOST THEIR SAVINGS OR JOBS. I AGREE WITH AMERICANS WHO ARE RIGHTFULLY SKEPTICAL OF THE DEMOCRATS' BILL AND THE RUSH THE MAJORITY WANTS TO PASS IT IN. IT'S NO SURPRISE MY CONSTITUENTS ARE SKEPTICAL. AFTER ALL, IT'S THE VERY FEW BAD ACTORS ON WALL STREET WHO CAUSED THE FINANCIAL CRISIS ARE NOW CHEER LEADING THIS SO-CALLED REFORM BILL. I WAS STUNNED WHEN I READ THE HEAD OF THE INVESTMENT BANK GOLDMAN SACHS, MR. BLANKFEIN WHO SAID -- QUOTE -- "THE BIGGEST BENEFICIARY OF REFORM IS WALL STREET ITSELF." THE HEAD OF GOLDMAN SACHS SAID THE BIGGEST BENEFICIARY OF THIS REFORM BILL IS WALL STREET. DID YOU HEAR THAT? EVERYBODY WHO'S BEEN LOOKING AT GOLDMAN SACHS -- I ALSO UNDERSTAND CITIGROUP NOW SUPPORTS THIS MEASURE. THEY ARE HUGE WALL STREET PLAYERS WHO HAVE HAD ACCESS TO THE WALL STREET AND THE MAJORITY LEADER, BOTH HOUSES, TO PUSH FOR ALL THE GOOD THINGS WHICH THIS BILL DOES FOR THEM. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN IN THERE. THEY ARE THE MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS. LOOK WHERE THE MONEY GOES. IF YOU WANT TO SAY, OKAY, WHO'S LOOKING FOR CONTRIBUTIONS? LOOK AT THAT AND SEE WHAT'S IN THE BILL. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS BILL CLOBBERS MAIN STREET AND IT GLANCES OFF OF WALL STREET. INSTEAD OF HELPING WALL STREET, I WANT TO ENSURE A BILL IS PASSED THAT WILL PROTECT MAIN STREET. WHILE WALL STREET MAY BE CHEERLEADING THIS BILL, I'M HERE TO ENSURE THIS BILL REPRESENTS MAIN STREET CONCERNS, AND WHAT I'M HEARING FROM MAIN STREET, THEY ARE CONCERNED T. DOESN'T ADDRESS THEIR CONCERNS. IT PUTS MORE BURDENS ON THEM. I WOULD ASK YOU, I WOULD URGE YOU TO LISTEN TO THE FOLKS AT HOME. WE NEED TO HOLD WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE HAVOC WREAKED ON MAIN STREET AND AN ACT OF REFORM TO PREVENT ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS. THIS BILL IS TOO LARGE, TOO COSTLY FOR CONSUMERS AND WOULD KILL JOB CREATION AT A TIME WHEN WORKING AMERICANS NEED TO BE LEFT TO DO WHAT THEY DO BEST. AND THAT IS SUCCEED. MR. PRESIDENT, MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE CAN HOLD VOTE AFTER VOTE, BUT UNTIL THIS BILL FIXES THE PROBLEMS, I CAN BE SURE IT IS NOT JUST GOLDMAN SACHS, CITIGROUP AND THE REST OF WALL STREET WHICH WILL BENEFIT. I WILL CONTINUE TO FORCE DEMOCRATS TO LISTEN TO THE CONCERNS OF MAIN STREET AMERICA. I WOULD URGE YOU TO TURN UP THE HEARING AND TURN DOWN THE VOLUME AND LISTEN TO WHAT THE PEOPLE IN YOUR STATES ARE SAYING. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 02:33:23 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:…

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: MR. SPECTER CON. MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 02:33:46 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:01:51 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA IS RECOGNIZED.

  • 03:01:53 PM

    MR. SPECTER

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE QUORUM CALL BE TERMINATED.

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  • 03:01:57 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 03:01:58 PM

    MR. SPECTER

    I THANK THE DISTINGUISHED MEDICAL -- MAJORITY LEADER FOR HIS GENEROUS AND…

    I THANK THE DISTINGUISHED MEDICAL -- MAJORITY LEADER FOR HIS GENEROUS AND COMPLIMENTARY COMMENTS, AS TODAY COMPLETES ONE YEAR SINCE MY RETURN TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, I HAVE A FEW OBSERVATIONS ON WHAT WE SHOULD DO AS SENATORS SENATORS, NOT AS DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS, TO TEND TO THE NATION'S BUSINESS IN THESE DIFFICULT DAYS. PARTNERPARTISANSHIP RAN HIGH IN 20005 WHEN REPUBLICANS CHOSE TO USE THE NUCLEAR OPTION WHEN WOULD, IN EFFECT, CHANGE THE RULE TO ALLOW 51 VOTES TO CUT OFF FILIBUSTERS. THE SO-CALLED GANG OF 14, A GROUP OF CENTRISTS FROM BOTH PARTIES, STRUCTURED A COMPROMISE WHICH CONFIRMED SOME JUDICIAL NOMINEES, REJECTED OTHERS AND ESTABLISHED A STANDARD THAT FILIBUSTERS SHOULD NOT BE EMPLOYED EXCEPT IN -- QUOTE -- "EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES." THAT SPIRIT OF COMPROMISE, I SUGGEST, SHOULD BE REVISITED TODAY. IN THE THREAT OF A GREAT DEPRESSION IN FEBRUARY 2009, I REFUSED TO JOIN THE REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM AND PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN THE PASSAGE OF THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT. I AM FULLY AWARE THAT MY VOTE PUT MY JOB ON THE LINE. ACHIEVING CIVILITY AND COOPERATION FOR THE COMMON GOOD IN 2010, AS IT OCCURRED IN 2005 WITH RESPECT TO JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS, WILL REQUIRE INDEPENDENCE AND RISK TAKING BY SENATORS. SENATORS MUST BE WILLING TO CROSS THE AISLE AND WORK WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES EVEN AT THE PERIL OF DISFAVOR OF THEIR OWN POLITICAL PARTY. THE PROBLEMS OF THE COUNTRY TODAY ARE TOO SEVERE, TOO MANY AMERICANS ARE OUT OF WORK, TOO MANY AMERICANS ARE FIGHTING AND DYING ON FOREIGN LANDS FOR MEMBERS OF THIS BODY TO BE UNWILLING TO RISK THEIR SEATS FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD. THE STAKES FOR AMERICA REQUIRE THAT WE ALL DO OUR LEVEL BEST AND PERMIT THE PUBLIC TO JUDGE US ACCORDINGLY. AT THE MOMENT, THERE IS A PRESSING NEED FOR REPUBLICANS TO JOIN WITH US IN REFORMING WALL STREET TO PREVENT THE KIND OF FINANCIAL CRISIS WHICH COST THIS COUNTRY 8 MILLION JOBS. BOTH SIDES AGREE THAT LEGISLATION IS NECESSARY. ON A MOTION TO PROCEED WHICH IS NOW PENDING ON THIS LEGISLATION, THERE IS NO REALISTIC CONTENTION THAT -- QUOTE -- "EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES" JUSTIFY A FILIBUSTER. ONCE THE BILL IS DEBATED, THERE WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR AMENDMENTS. 41 REPUBLICAN SENATORS WILL THEN HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO FILIBUSTER WHATEVER LEGISLATION EVOLVES BEFORE FINAL PASSAGE. EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES NOW CALL FOR REPUBLICANS TO JOIN DEMOCRATS IN PASSING LEGISLATION TO PREVENT ANOTHER ECONOMIC CRISIS. I ASK CONSENT THAT THIS STATEMENT BE PRINTED IN THE "CONGRESSIONAL RECORD" AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE COMMENTS BY MAJORITY LEADER REID ABOUT ME, WHICH WERE IN THE RECORD THIS MORNING.

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  • 03:05:42 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    PRESIDING OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:05:44 PM

    MR. SPECTER

    I THANK THE CHAIR. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OTHER SENATOR SEEKING…

    I THANK THE CHAIR. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OTHER SENATOR SEEKING RECOGNITION, I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:05:52 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: MR.

  • 03:06:08 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 03:14:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND.

  • 03:14:03 PM

    MR. REED

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH…

    THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I WOULD ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO DISPENSE WITH THE CALLING OF THE QUORUM.

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  • 03:14:07 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 03:14:09 PM

    MR. REED

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. YESTERDAY WE HEARD AND THE NATION HEARD FROM GOLDMAN…

    YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. YESTERDAY WE HEARD AND THE NATION HEARD FROM GOLDMAN SACHS EXECUTIVES INDICATING THAT THEY HAD NO REGRETS ABOUT THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, A CRISIS THAT'S LEFT 8.5 MILLION PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WITHOUT JOBS AND STRIPPED BILLION OF RETIREMENT SAVINGS FROM AMERICANS. IN FACT, THE PEW INSTITUTE WILL RELEASE A STUDY THAT INDICATES THAT THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND RECESSION HAS ALREADY COST U.S. HOUSEHOLDS $100,000 ON NANCH LOST WEALTH AND -- ON AVERAGE IN LOST WEALTH AND INCOME INCOME. THAT IS A HUGE, HUGE BLOW FOR TO HAVE FAMILIES WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO PAY FOR THEIR RETIREMENT, PAY FOR THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION AND PROVIDE A BETTER LIFE FOR THEMSELVES AND FOR THEIR CHILDREN. WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST FIVE QUARTERS, BECAUSE OF THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS ASSOCIATED AND CONNECTED WITH THE RECESSION, A LOSS IN GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT OF $648 BILLION LESS TRON PROJECTED INITIALLY. $648 BILLION OF PROJECTED ENTERPRISE. THE COST OF THIS CRISIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD ALL NOT ONLY RECOGNIZE, BUT COMMIT TO PREVENTING IN THE FUTURE. AND WE ALSO SHOULD CALCULATE THE COSTS NOT JUST IN TERMS OF HOW WELL WE'RE DOING AND EXECUTIVES ON WALL STREET ARE DOING PRETTY WELL, BUT HOW WELL THE AVERAGE FAMILY IN THIS COUNTRY IS DOING AND HOW MUCH IN TERMS OF WEALTH THEIR HAS BEEN DIMINISH IF NOT LOST. AND BASED ON SOUND PRINCIPLES AND SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND FOR FAMILIES. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE MAJOR FUNCTIONS OF ANY FINANCIAL SECTOR IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD IS TO EFFICIENTLY ALLOCATE CAPITAL. TO GROW DOMESTIC PROGRESS AND DOMESTIC PRODUCT, NOT TO REDUCE IT. TO INVEST IN PRODUCTIVE ENTERPRISE AND EMPLOY PEOPLE, NOT THROUGH VARIOUS MEANS TO UNDERCUT COMPANIES THAT ARE FORCED TO LAY OFF WORKERS THAT ARE -- THAT SEE INCENTIVES AND MOVING OFFSHORE. ALL OF THIS IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS HAS, I THINK, REPRESENTED A FAILURE IN THAT BASIC FUNCTION OF MAKING SURE THAT CAPITAL IS ACCUMULATED AND THEN OFFICIALLY ALLOCATED FOR PRODUCTIVE MEANS. SO WALL STREET, I THINK, HAS A LOT TO REGRET ABOUT THEIR ROLE. AND WE HAVE A LOT TO DO TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION, TO ENSURE THAT THE REGULATORY STRUCTURE IS IN PLACE AND TO HAVE CLEAR RULES THAT WILL PROTECT FAMILIES, CONSUMERS, AND PROTECT THE TAXPAYER. NOW, THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THAT OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE HAVE BLOCKED SUCH EFFORTS TO BEGIN THE DISCUSSION. WE RECOGNIZE THIS IS A COMPLEX TOPIC. MANY, MANY DIFFERENT PARTS. CREDIT RATING AGENCIES, CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, DERIVATIVES. YOU CAN GO ON AND ON AND ON. SO ANYONE WHO IMPLIES THAT THEY HAVE ALL THE WISDOM WILL FIND THEMSELVES, I THINK, SADLY MISTAKEN. BUT WE HAVE TO GET ON WITH THIS BILL. BECAUSE UNLESS WE BRING THIS BILL TO THE FLOOR WE CAN'T BEGIN TO OPEN AND TALK ABOUT THE POLICY ISSUES THAT PEOPLE CAN DISAGREE WITH. PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT APPROACHES. AND ULTIMATELY RESOLVE THIS AND CREATE A BETTER REGULATORY STRUCTURE AND A STRONGER FOUNDATION FOR OUR ECONOMY. BUT THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS THIS HAS BEEN, AGAIN, SAY NO AND THE PROBLEM MIGHT GO AWAY. WELL, IF WE CONTINUE -- IF THEY CONTINUE TO SAY NO, THE PROBLEM WILL GET WORSE. WE'RE LOOKING ACROSS THE GLOBE TODAY AT A CRISIS IN EUROPE BECAUSE OF GREEK SOVEREIGN DEBT. IT'S SPIRALING, ALREADY SPANISH DEBT HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED. IF WE THINK WE'RE IMMUNE FROM THESE GLOBAL CURRENTS, BOTH GOOD AND BAD, WE'RE MISTAKEN. IF WE DON'T PUT IN A STRONGER STRUCTURE OF REGULATION, IT MIGHT NOT BE STARTING ON WALL STREET, BUT THE IMPACT ON MAIN STREET COULD BE THE SAME THAT COULD BE JUST AS DEVASTATING. WE HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD AND HAVE TO MOVE AND THE NOTION THAT WE HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD AND WE CAN JUST SORT OF NONCHALANTLY GO ABOUT OUR BUSINESS OR IN SOME CASE IF IT'S A POLITICAL JUDGMENT THAT IT'S BETTER JUST TO RESIST IS NOT SERVING THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION WELL. WE RECOGNIZE THERE ARE PRINCIPLE DIFFERENCES. LET'S RESOLVE THEM, AS WE DO, ON THE FLOOR THROUGH DEBATE, THROUGH DISCUSSION, AND THROUGH A VOTE. AND LET'S MOVE ON. WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO. AND THE UNDERLYING BILL THAT SENATOR DODD HAS BROUGHT TO THE FLOOR ALREADY INCORPORATES SO MANY OF THESE DESPAIRED VIEWS IN, I THINK, A VERY SENSIBLE WAY. LET ME SAY FOR THE RECORD THAT LEGISLATION LIKE THIS HAS BEEN PENDING FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS. THE PRESIDENT WILL RECOGNIZE, BECAUSE HE PARTICIPATED WITH ME IN THE FIRST MARKUP LAST NOVEMBER WHERE SENATOR DODD BROUGHT A BILL TO THE FLOOR -- TO THE COMMITTEE, OPENED IT UP TO AMENDMENT AND IS QUITE CLEAR THAT IT WAS -- THERE WAS GOING TO BE NO SERIOUS DISCUSSION. AND, IN FACT, OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE SAID WE NEED MORE TIME. WE WANT TO PARTICIPATE WITH YOU. AND I THINK IT WAS DONE WITH GREAT SINCERITY. AND SENATOR DODD ENTERTAINED THOSE PROPOSALS FOR MONTHS FROM NOVEMBER UNTIL JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO WE WERE WORKING COLLABORATIVELY AND CREATIVELY TO TRY TO BRIDGE OUR GAPS AND BRING A BILL TO THE FLOOR. WELL, FINALLY, AND SOMEWHAT IN EX ASPIRATION, SENATOR DODD CONCLUDED IT WAS LEADING NOWHERE IF NOT TO MORE DELAY AND DENIAL. AND SO WE HAD A COMMITTEE MARKUP. AGAIN, AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE TO BRING FORWARD THEIR PROPOSAL, THEIR IDEAS IN A MARKUP WHERE WE WOULD BE ABLE TO CONSIDER THEIR VIEWS, VOTE ON THEM AND THEN MOVE THAT TO THE FLOOR, BUT IT WAS A PREFUNCTORY SESSION. THEY HAD CONCLUDED THAT, NO, THEY WERE NOT QUITE READY TO OFFER THEIR PROPOSALS, THEIR IDEAS AND TO ENGAGE IN THE BUSINESS OF LEGISLATION. AND SO NOW THE BILL IS BEFORE US MONTHS AFTER WE STARTED THE PROCESS, MONTHS AFTER WE ENTERTAINED AND ENCORP. RATED PROPOSALS MADE BY OUR COLLEAGUES BECAUSE THEY'RE VERY GOOD PROPOSALS. IT WAS SENATOR CORKER AND SENATOR WARNER WHO HAS DONE AN OUTSTANDING JOB WHO STRUCTURED THE ISSUE OF RESOLUTION, SO THERE WOULD BE AN UPFRONT FUND SO THAT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND NOT TAXPAYERS WOULD PAY FOR THE FAILURE OF A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. AND, YET, WHEN THAT BILL WAS BROUGHT TO THE ARE FLOOR, OR WE ATTEMPTED TO DO IT, THAT PROVISION -- THAT BIPARTISAN PROVISION WAS SINGLED OUT FOR, SHALL WE SAY, CRITICISM, IF NOT, RIDICULE AS A PERPETUAL BAILOUT. IT'S A BAILOUT BILL. IT WAS A MISREPRESENTATION OF THE BILL. AND IT, FRANKLY, CONTRADICTED THE WHOLE EFFORT -- THE WHOLE BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT BOTH SIDES COULD SUPPORT. BUT THIS BILL INCORPORATES SO MANY DIFFERENT IDEAS AND ASPECTS THAT HAVE BEEN SHARED. IN FACT, I -- IT WAS INTERESTING IN THE LEADUP TO THIS FLOOR CONSIDERATION SO MANY TIMES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE PEOPLE WOULD SAY ROUTINELY ON WHAT WE AGREE ON 80% OF THE BILL. I THINK IF YOU HAVE 80% OF THE BILL AGREED TO, AT LEAST CONCEPTUALLY, YOU'RE PROBABLY READY TO BRING THE BILL UP FOR DEBATE AND VOTE. AND, YET, AGAIN, THE REPUBLICAN SIDE REFUSES TO DO THAT. THEY THINK -- ASSUME, I GUESS, THAT THEY HAVE A LOT OF TIME. AS YOU LOOK AROUND THE GLOBE AT CRISES IN EUROPE, AT THE STOCK MARKET FALLING DRAMATICALLY YESTERDAY BECAUSE OF EUROPE, I THINK WE HAVE TO MOVE AGGRESSIVELY TO PROTECT AMERICAN FAMILIES, AND THAT MEANS GETTING THE BILL ON THE FLOOR AND VOTING FOR IT. THIS BILL WILL MAKE CHANGES THAT ARE URGENTLY NECESSARY. AGAIN, THE ISSUE OF TOO BIG TO FAIL THROUGH THE EXTRAORDINARY EFFORT, PAINSTAKING EFFORT, THE HOURS OF DISCUSSIONS OF SENATOR WARNER AND SENATOR CORKER, THERE WAS A PROPOSAL FOR RESOLUTION THAT EFFECTIVELY END THE TOO BIG TO FAIL. IN FACT, SHEILA BAIR WHO IS THE CHAIRWOMAN OF THE FDIC, SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN CHAIRING THE FDIC WITH DISTINCTION FOR SEVERAL YEARS SAID IT VIRTUALLY ELIMINATES THE POSSIBILITY OF A TAXPAYER BAILOUT SO THAT'S PART OF IT. STRENGTHENING CONSUMER PROTECTION. I MEAN, THERE HAS BEEN, I THINK, AN UNFORTUNATE GENERALIZATION THAT CONSUMER PROTECTIONS ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS. FRANKLY, WE SHOULD HAVE DISCOVERED IN THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS THAT GOOD CONSUMER PROTECTIONS ARE VERY, VERY GOOD FOR BUSINESS. MANY OF THOSE CONSUMER LAWS WHICH WOULD HAVE PROTECTED PEOPLE SEEKING MORTGAGES WHICH WERE IGNORED OR EXEMPTED WOULD HAVE, I THINK, IMPROVED DRAMATICALLY THE MORTGAGE SITUATION, SWRO IMPROVED BUSINESS, -- WOULD HAVE IMPROVED BUSINESS, WOULD HAVE MADE THE OVERRIDING ISSUE OF EFFICIENT CAPITAL EASIER. BUT WHEN YOU HAVE VERY LITTLE PROTECTION FOR CONSUMERS, THEY ARE AT THE MERCY OF THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK. NOT ONE WAS WATCHING OUT FOR THEM. BUT NOT ONLY THAT, THE INDIVIDUAL MORTGAGE DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING AS THEY SAY, ANY SKIN IN THE GAME THEY SENT IT TO THE SECURITIZATION PROCESS, SOMEONE WRAPPED IT UP INTO A BIG MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITY, SOMEONE ELSE WRAPPED IT UP INTO COLLATERAL DEBT OBLIGATION AND SOMEONE WRAPPED THAT INTO SYNTHETIC COLLATERAL DEBT OBLIGATION AN SOLD IT ALL. NOT A LOT OF EFFICIENT ALLOCATION OF CAPITAL PRODUCTIVE MEANS, BUT A LOT OF MEANS FOR BANKERS AND BANKER PEOPLE AND MORTGAGE BROKERS. AT THE VERY BEGINNING GOOD CONSUMER PROTECTIONS WOULD HAVE BEEN AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO MITIGATE SOME OF THAT DAMAGE. THEY'RE IN THIS BILL. WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO ELIMINATE HUGE GAPS IN LOOPHOLES IN FINANCIAL REGULATION. IN OUR -- AND OUR REGULATORY SCHEME HAS GROWN-UP MANY, MANY YEARS, IN FACT, THROUGH THE LIFE OF THIS COUNTRY. AND SO WE HAVE A NATIONAL BANK AUTHORITY THAT WAS CREATED IN THE 1860'S. WE HAVE AN OFFICE OF THRIFT SUPERVISION CREATED BECAUSE OF THRIFT INSTITUTIONS. WE HAVE THE FDIC CREATED IN THE 1930'S BY FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT AS A RESULT OF THE DEPRESSION AND NEED TO ENSURE -- INSURE PRODUCTS. AND WE HAVE A SECURITY DEPOSIT CREATED IN THE WILSON ADMINISTRATION. ALL OF THEM HAVE A DUAL PIECE OF THE ACTION. AND ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN ROUTINELY USED IN WHAT IS TERMED AS REGULATORY ARBITRAGE TO MOVE TO THE FAVORABLE POSITION FOR YOUR BUSINESS WHICH MAY NOT BE FAVORABLE FOR THE ECONOMY. SOME OF THE BIG MORTGAGE COLLECTORS THAT ULTIMATELY COLLAPSED WERE REGULATED BY THE OFFICE OF COMPTROLLER AGENCY AND THEN DECIDED THEY WOULD HAVE A BETTER OPPORTUNITY AT O.T.C. AND THEN FINALLY ELSEWHERE. YOU KNOW, HIT AND RUN I THINK WAS PROBABLY THE BUSINESS PLAN. WE CAN STOP THAT. AND SO THIS BILL TAKES A STRONG STEP FORWARD, CONSOLIDATING THE SUPERVISION BY CONSOLIDATING THE OFFICE OF COMPTROLLER CURRENCY AND OFFICE OF SUPERVISION. BY LIMITING THE SUPERVISION OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE OVER COUNTLESS NUMBER OF SMALL BANKS AND CONCENTRATING THEIR EFFORTS AT THE BIG INSTITUTIONS WHERE THEIR EXPERTISE AND FOCUS SHOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THIS IS A HUGE IMPROVEMENT OVER WHAT THE PRESENT SYSTEM IS. AND, YET, OUR COLLEAGUES ARE NOT RECOGNIZING THE NEED TO IMPROVE AND THE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD. WE ARE ENGAGED THROUGH SENATOR LINCOLN AND SENATOR DODD WITH DERIVATIVES LEGISLATION, WHICH THE FIRST TIME RECOGNIZES AND REGULATES THOSE DERIVATIVES. THERE WAS A GREAT DEBATE HERE IN THE 1990'S, AND THROUGH THAT DEBATE, DERIVATIVES WERE LEFT UNREGULATED. TODAY WE RECOGNIZE WE HAVE TO PUT THEM BACK UNDER REGULATORY SUPERVISION. AND THE LEGISLATION CREATES THE STEPS, THE ARCHITECTURE WHICH GOES A LONG WAY TO PREVENT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE'VE SEEN. IT REQUIRES REPORTING ALL DERIVATIVE TRANSACTION TO A DATA REPOSITORY WHICH THE REGULATORS WILL MAINTAIN. SO THEY CAN SEE FIRSTHAND IN REALTIME WHAT'S HAPPENING OUT THERE. IS THERE A BIG BUILDUP IN GREEK DEBT? ARE THERE HUGE POSITIONS IN COLLATERAL DEFAULT SWAPS ON -- ON GREEK BONDS? THEY CAN AT LEAST GET A MACRO SENSE OF WHAT'S HAPPENING. AND THEN WITH LIMITED EXCEPTIONS ALL DERIVATIVES HAVE TO BE CLEAR ON A CLEARING PLATFORM. AND WHAT THAT DOES, IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE BILATERAL NATURE OF A TRANSACTION. SOMEONE SAYS, I'LL SELL YOU INSURANCE ON THIS INTEREST RATE FOR A FEE. YOU GIVE ME THE FEE, ET CETERA, THAT'S BILATERAL. IF ONE OF THESE PARTIES IS UNABLE TO CARRY OUT ITS OBLIGATIONS, THE TRANSACTION FAILS. IN A CLEAR PLATFORM, THERE'S A CENTRAL PARTY THAT ASSUMES THE RISK OF ONE OF THE PARTIES FAILING. IT'S A MUTUAL -- MUTUALIZATION, REALLY, OF RISK. AND IT'S A STEP FORWARD. BUT WE HAVE TO STEP EVEN FURTHER THAN THAT. WE HAVE TO PUSH AS MANY OF THESE TRADES ON TO A TRADING PLATFORM. NOT JUST CLEARING IT AND HOLDING COLLATERAL, BUT ACTUALLY PRICING IT BECAUSE OF THE COMPLEXITY OF SOME OF THESE PRODUCTS UNLESS THERE'S A MARKET, NO ONE KNOWS THE REAL VALUE. ON A TRADING PLATFORM THERE IS A MARKET VALUE AND PEOPLE CAN MARKET BECAUSE BASICALLY SOMEONE WILL BUY IT, THAT'S THE VALUE. SO WE HAVE TO DO THAT. AND THIS LEGISLATION GOES A LONG WAY TO DOING THAT. WITH RESPECT TO CREDIT RATING AGENCIES, ONE OF THE GREAT FAILURES WAS THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY. ALL OF THESE EXOTIC MORTGAGE PRODUCTS THAT COLLAPSED IN VALUE MOST OF THEM WERE RATED INVESTMENT GRADE, AA, AAA, BBB-PLUS, ACCORDING TO WHATEVER THE RATING IS, AND, YET, THEY FAILED. PART OF IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE -- THE WAY CREDIT RATING AGENCIES OPERATED. SENATOR LEVIN HAS CONDUCTED RECENTLY SOME VERY GOOD HEARINGS ON THIS. THE FAMILIARITY BETWEEN THE INVESTMENT BANKERS BRINGING THE PRODUCT TO THE STREET AND THE RATERS, THE INTERCONNECTNESS. THE FAILURE TO HAVE THE APPROPRIATE CHECKS ON THE MODELS THAT RATERS WERE USING. AN INDEPENDENT RISK ANALYSIS WITHIN THE RATING AGENCY THAT'S GOING TO LOOK AT THESE MODELS NOT FOR THE BENEFIT OF WHO'S PAYING FOR IT, BUT FOR THE PROPRIETY AND CORRECTNESS OF THE MODEL. THAT'S WHAT'S IN THIS LEGISLATION. BUT WE HAVE DONE SOMETHING ELSE, TOO. WE HAVE INSERTED LANGUAGE THAT WILL ALLOW SOMEONE WHO HAS INVESTED THEIR SAVINGS, MOST LIKELY ON BEHALF OF A PENSIONEER OR SOMEONE ELSE, THEIR SAVINGS, AND IF THEY SEE THE COLLAPSE, THEY CAN AT LEAST GO TO COURT AND MAKE THE CASE THEY SHOULD FIND OUT WHAT WENT ON. TODAY, THESE CASES ARE ROUTINELY DISMISSED BEFORE ANY CAN QUESTION THE RATING. OUR LEGISLATION WOULD ALLOW THEM TO GET BEYOND THE PLEADING STAGE, BUT IT WOULD ALSO GIVE THE RATING AGENCIES AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE. THEY WOULD HAVE TO FACTUALLY CHECK THEIR MODELS. THEY WOULD ACTUALLY HAVE TO LOOK AT SOME OF THESE MORTGAGES. AND FRANKLY, YOU KNOW, THIS MIGHT BE "20/20" -- THIS MIGHT BE 20-20 HINDSIGHT, BUT IF SOMEONE DROVE OUT TO THOSE COUNTIES IN FLORIDA WHERE THERE ARE ALL THESE EXOTIC MORTGAGES AND NO ONE SEEMED TO BE LIVING THERE AND THE COMMUNITIES WERE DETERIORATING, I THINK THEY WOULD CHECK PRETTY QUICKLY THEIR RATING. THAT APPEARS NOT TO HAVE BEEN DONE. HEDGE FUNDS, OTHER PRIVATE POOLS OF CAPITAL, THEY ARE FOR THE FIRST TIME REGULATED. THEY WOULD HAVE TO REGISTER WITH THE S.E.C. SO THAT LARGE POOLS, THE DOCK POOLS THEY CALL THEM OF MONEY THAT COULD INFLUENCE SYSTEMICALLY ARE NOW AT LEAST SUBJECT TO REGISTRATION, NOTIFYING OF THE SIZE OF THEIR POOL AND OTHER BASIC INFORMATION. WELL, WE HAVE HAD MONTHS OF OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS AND WORK TOGETHER, TO AMEND THE BILL IN COMMITTEE WHICH WAS NOT DONE, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY TO BEGIN TODAY. IN FACT, WE SHOULD HAVE BEGAN LAST WEEK, THIS ISSUE OF FINALLY PASSING A SENATE BILL THAT RESPONDS TO THE CRISIS WE SAW, THAT BILLS ARE A STRONGER FOUNDATION FOR THE FINANCIAL EXPANSION THAT PROTECTS CONSUMERS AND TAXPAYERS, AND ALSO LEADS TO THE INCREASE IN THE WEALTH OF FAMILIES NOT TO A DRAMATIC DECREASE IN THE DECLINE WE HAVE WITNESSED BECAUSE OF SOME OF THESE FORCES AT WORK TODAY IN THE MARKETPLACE, ON WALL STREET, WHICH STILL HAVE TO BE ADDRESSED. NOW, THERE WILL BE PROPOSALS THAT COME UP THAT ARE BE A ATTEMPT TO WEAKEN SOME OF -- THAT ARE AN AMENDMENT TO WEAKEN SOME OF THESE PROVISIONS, PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO CONSUMER PROTECTIONS. AGAIN, I THINK IT FLOWS FROM A FALSE LOGIC THAT IF IT'S GOOD FOR CONSUMERS, IT'S BAD FOR BUSINESS. ACTUALLY, I ALWAYS THOUGHT IN SMALL TOWN BUSINESS THE CUSTOMER WAS ALWAYS RIGHT. YOU PLEASE THE CUSTOMER. MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE A VALUE FOR YOUR PRODUCT. MADE SURE THAT HE OR SHE COULD COME BACK BECAUSE THEY WERE HAPPY AND SATISFIED. APPARENTLY, THAT OLD-FASHIONED RULE HAS BEEN TOSSED OUT, BUT THAT OLD-FASHIONED RULE I THINK HAS TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED. NOW, WE HAVE SEEN AS A WAY TO DEFLECT ATTENTION FROM THE NEED FOR REFORM AND THE NEED TO MOVE THIS LEGISLATION MISREPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE BILL. I MENTION ONE. IT'S A BAILOUT BILL. WELL, THAT I THINK HAS BEEN DROPPED BECAUSE IT WAS TRANSAPPARENTLY MISLEADING AND INDEED THIS BAILOUT MECHANISM WAS A BIPARTISAN PRODUCT OF TWO OF OUR DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES, SENATOR WARNER AND SENATOR CORKER. NOW WHERE THE OLD STANDBY IT'S GOING TO HURT BUSINESS. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT HAS HURT BUSINESS HAS BEEN THE BEHAVIOR ON WALL STREET. I CAN RECALL SEVERAL YEARS AGO WHERE THERE WAS A STUDY BY THE MCKENZIE COMPANY THAT SAID IF WE DID NOT LOOSEN FURTHER THE ALREADY, I THINK, LAX RULES, THAT WE WOULD LOSE ALL THE SECURITIES BUSINESS. ALL OF WALL STREET WOULD GO TO ANCHOR OTHER PLACES, THAT WE WOULD LOSE THOUSANDS OF JOBS. GUESS WHAT? THEY HAVE LOST, UNFORTUNATELY, THOUSANDS OF JOBS THERE, AND IT WASN'T BECAUSE REGULATION WAS TOO STRINGENT. IT'S BECAUSE IT WAS TOO LAX. AGAIN, IF THERE IS ANY CASE TO BE MADED FOR BUSINESS, IT'S IRRATIONAL ALLOCATION OF CAPITAL, LAX RULES WITH RESPECT TO CONSUMERS, A MARKET DRIVEN NOT BY VALUE BUT BY COMPENSATION. NOT BY LONG-TERM GROWTH BUT BY SHORT-TERM PROFITS. THAT IS WHAT COST EVERY AMERICAN $100,000, AT LEAST EVERY FAMILY. SO IF WE MOVE PURPOSEFULLY AND WITH THE INPUT OF OUR COLLEAGUES, WHICH IS ALREADY ACCEPTED, WE CAN ESTABLISH A FRAMEWORK WHERE BUSINESSES BEGIN TO GROW AGAIN. SO I REJECT THE ARGUMENT THAT WHAT WE'RE DOING WILL HURT. IN FACT, THIS UNCERTAINTY OF WHETHER WE'LL HAVE THIS REFORM OR THAT REFORM CONTINUE I THINK AT LEAST TO A DEGREE TO IMPEDE CAPITAL FORMATION, TO IMPEDE INVESTMENTS IN THE COUNTRY. WHEN THERE ARE RULES, CLEAR RULES OF THE ROAD, THEN THE ECONOMY WILL AGAIN BEGIN TO PICK UP AS IT'S BEGINNING TO PICK UP FOR OTHER REASONS. NOW, IF WE DON'T TAKE UP THIS BILL, WORK ON IT AND PASS THE LEGISLATION, WHO WINS? WELL, I TELL YOU WHO WINS. IT'S THE BIG BANKS THAT HAVE SURVIVED THIS CRISIS TODAY WHO ARE REPORTING RECORD PROFITS. WHAT ARE THEY MAKING THEIR MONEY ON? GIVING LOANS TO SMALL BUSINESS MEN AND WOMEN ACROSS AMERICA? INVESTING IN MUNICIPALITIES? NO, THEY ARE MAKING HUGE PROFITS IN TRADING. OF BETTING IN SOME RESPECTS ON HOW THE ECONOMY IS GOING TO DO. WELL, THAT'S -- THAT'S FINE, BUT WE NEED A SITUATION IN WHICH CAPITAL IS DEDICATED TO GROWTH AND TO INVESTMENT IN PRODUCTIVITY. THE SPECULATORS WILL CONTINUE TO REAP BILLIONS IN PROFITS. I'M SURE THAT THERE ARE VERY CLEVER OR SEVERAL CLEVER PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING QUITE WELL OVER THE DEMISE OF SOVEREIGN WEALTH IN GREECE THAT HAVE TAKEN SHORT POSITIONS ON GREEK BONDS AND ARE DOING -- MAKING A LOT OF MONEY. THAT'S NOT HELPING US AND IT'S NOT HELPING THE COUNTRY AND INDEED IT'S NOT HELPING OUR TRADING PARTNERS ACROSS THE GLOBE. THAT UNCHECKED WILL CONTINUE. THE OPAQUE AND UNREGULATED MARKET THAT I JUST REFERRED TO IN DERIVATIVES, $600 TRILLION NOTIONAL LAPSE, TRILLION DOLLARS. WHEN YOU TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT CLEARING OF DERIVATIVES, IT'S NOT BILLIONS, NO, IT'S TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. THAT MARKET IS UNREGULATED, AND IF IT GOES THE WRONG WAY QUICKLY, THE CONSEQUENCES CAN BE DEVASTATING. WE HAVE SEEN THAT IN THE MORTGAGE CRISIS. SO WE HAVE TO MOVE. WE HAVE TO MOVE AT EVERY LEVEL, NOT JUST THE BIG BANK BUT WE HAVE TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE REGULATION FOR THE PEOPLE IN TERMS OF THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY SO THAT THOSE ABUSES AND MORTGAGE WILL BE CORRECTED. WE HAVE TO GO AHEAD AND LOOK AT PAYDAY LENDERS WHICH HAVE 900% INTEREST THAT ARE STRIPPING PEOPLE OF THEIR HARD-WON RESOURCES. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE CREDIT CARD COMPANIES. WE HAVE PASSED LEGISLATION BUT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT THEY ARE DOING. NOW, THOSE PEOPLE, PAYDAY LENDERS AND THE MORTGAGE BROKERS THAT CAN OPERATE, CONTINUE TO OPERATE WITH IMPUNITY, THE BIG BANKS, ET CETERA, THEY WIN. WHO LOSES? WELL, CONSUMERS LOSE. PAYING THE EXCESSIVE RATES, SEEING THEIR HOMES DEVALUE, ALL OF THAT. SO WE HAVE TO, I THINK, STAND UP AND START THE WORK OF LEGISLATING. THE STATUS QUO IS NO LONGER AFFORDABLE, AND THE NOTION THAT WE WILL NEVER SEE ANOTHER CRISIS IS, I THINK, UNDERCUT BY LOOKING AROUND. IF THERE IS NOT TODAY SOME STEADY HANDS AT THE TILLER IN EUROPE IN TERMS OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND THEIR FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS, THE CASCADING EFFECT OF GREECE TO SPAIN TO IRELAND, ET CETERA, COULD BE ANOTHER PROBLEM WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH. WE HAVE LOTS OF WORK TO DO, AND THE LONGER WE DELAY, THE MORE WE ARE NEGLECTING THE REAL NEEDS OF OUR CONSTITUENTS. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD URGE ON THE NEXT VOTE WE GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD NOTICE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 03:39:32 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 03:39:52 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 04:01:10 PM

    MR. NELSON

    MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE LIFTED.

  • 04:01:18 PM

    MR. NELSON

    PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT TO SPEAK ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED UP TO 30…

    PRESIDENT, I ASK CONSENT TO SPEAK ON THE MOTION TO PROCEED UP TO 30 MINUTES.

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  • 04:01:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:01:31 PM

    MR. NELSON

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAVE NOW VOTED THREE TIMES -- ONCE ON MONDAY, SECOND…

    MR. PRESIDENT, WE HAVE NOW VOTED THREE TIMES -- ONCE ON MONDAY, SECOND TIME ON TUESDAY, A THIRD TIME TODAY, JUST MERELY TRYING TO GET TO THE WALL STREET FINANCIAL REFORM BILL. AND EACH TIME WE HAVE BEEN BLOCKED FROM BEING ABLE TO PROCEED ON A MOTION TO PROCEED BECAUSE WE CAN'T MUSTER 60 VOTES TO CUT OFF THE DEBATE JUST TO GET TO THE BILL. THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP REMAINS UNITED IN OPPOSITION TO BRINGING UP THE BILL, AND FOR THE LIFE OF ME -- ESPECIALLY AT A TIME IN WHICH WE HAVE JUST SEEN A DISPLAY OF EXTRAORDINARILY INTENSE, SHALL WE SAY, ARROGANCE ON THE PART OF EXECUTIVES AT A MAJOR WALL STREET FIRM IN THE WAY THAT THEY CONDUCTED THEMSELVES IN FRONT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN'S INVESTIGATION SUBCOMMITTEE YESTERDAY IN A HEARING. I MEAN, IT'S RATHER EXTRAORDINARY THAT THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IS NOT LETTING US COME UP WITH THE BILL, SO WE CAN GET IT OUT HERE, DISCUSS IT, AND AMEND IT. AND THIS SENATOR HAS A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO, AS WE SAY, PERFECT THE BANKING COMMITTEE'S BILL. BUT WE CAN'T EVEN GET TO THAT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS THE THINKING OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP THAT THEY WOULD DO THIS. AND ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THEY WANT SOME CHANGES WITH THE WAY THAT INVESTMENTS ARE HANDLED ON WALL STREET, AND THEY WANT TO SEE SOME MOVEMENT. THEY WANT TO SEE SOME ACTION. AND SO WHEN WE ATTEMPT TO BRING UP A COMPREHENSIVE BILL TO REFORM WALL STREET AND THE RECKLESS PRACTICES THAT NEARLY BROUGHT DOWN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, WE'RE PREVENTED FROM HAVING A FREE AND OPEN DEBATE ON THE BILL, AND WE'RE PREVENTED FROM PERFECTING THAT BILL WITH ADOPTING AMENDMENTS. NOW, I GUESS THE ALTERNATIVE TO THIS, SINCE WE CAN'T DO IT OUT HERE IN THE NORMAL LEGISLATIVE PROCESS -- I GUESS WHAT THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IS TALKING ABOUT IS THEY WANT TO DO THIS IN THE BACK ROOM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, OUTSIDE OF THE SUNSHINE. THEY WANT TO HAVE A DEAL CUT BEFORE IT COMES IN ORDER TO AVOID AN OPEN AND FREE DEBATE TO REFORM THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. WELL, WHY DO THEY WANT TO DO THIS? WELL, IT SEEMS TO ME COMMON SENSE WOULD TELL US IT'S BECAUSE THEY WNTS TO WATER DOWN THE BILL. THEY WANT -- THEY WANT TO WATER DOWN THE BILL. THEY WANT TO WATER IT DOWN TO THE VERY POINT AT WHICH THE WALL STREET THAT WE'RE TRYING TO TIGHTEN THE SCREWS IN ORDER TO BETTER REGULATE THEM AND PREVENT THE NEAR-FINANCIAL MELTDOWN THAT WE HAD, THEY WANT TO WATER IT DOWN BEFORE THEY WILL SIGN OFF ON A FINAL COMPROMISE, AND THAT'S WHY THEY'RE BLOCKING THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO GET TO THE BILL. DOES THIS TACTIC SOUND FAMILIAR? IT'S THE EXACT KIND OF BACKROOM WHEELING AND DEALING THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE COME TO RESENT. AND THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW AND DECADES AGO, IT USED TO BE IN THE OLD DAYS THAT IT WAS IN THE SMOKE-FILLED BACK ROOMS. NOW AT LEAST THERE'S NOT A LOT OF TOBACCO THAT'S BEING CONSUMED IN THOSE BACK ROOMS, AND WHAT'S SIMILAR IS THAT THE SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE STILL CALLING THE SHOTS. SO MY PLEA IS, LET'S BREAK THIS FILIBUSTER, LET'S GET A BILL IN FRONT OF THE SENATE SO THAT IT CAN BE IN THE FULL LIGHT OF THE GLARE OF THE HEADLIGHTS AND THE CAMERAS. LET'S GET IT IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND THEN LET'S LET THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS WORK ITS WILL, AS WE AMEND THE BILL. NOW, LISTEN TO SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS. THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, OVER AND OVER AND OVER, HAVE SAID THAT THE BANKING COMMITTEE BILL GUARANTEES FUTURE BAILOUTS. WELL, THAT'S JUST NOT TRUE. IT MIGHT BE A GOOD SOUND BITE, BUT IT'S SIMPLY UNTRUE. THE BANKING COMMITTEE BILL PUTS AN END TO THE PROMISE OF FUTURE BAILOUTS. THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP ATTACKS THE $50 BILLION RESOLUTION FUND CREATED IN THE BILL -- NOW, THIS SENATOR IS NOT CONVINCED THAT WE NEED THAT FUND FUND, AND I'M CERTAINLY NOT CONVINCED THAT IT'S GOING TO SURVIVE THE DEBATE ON THE FLOOR, BUT WE OUGHT TO HAVE SOME HONEST DEBATE ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR PROVISION. THE FUND IS PAID FOR IN THE BANKING COMMITTEE BILL DIRECTLY FROM THE COFFERS OF THE LARGEST BANKS, AND THE FUND ACTS, THE WAY IT'S DEVISED BY THE BANKING COMMITTEE, ACTS AS A BUFFER TO PROTECT TAXPAYERS, SO THAT IF THERE IS ANOTHER BREAKUP -- ANOTHER POTENTIAL MELTDOWN, THAT THE FUNDS THERE ALREADY FUNDED BY THE BANKS, SO THE TAXPAYERS DON'T HAVE TO GO IN AND DO THE RESCUE OPERATION LIKE WE'VE DONE IN THE PAST. UNDER THE BAIPGING COMMITTEE BILL, THE -- UNDER THE BANKING COMMITTEE BILL, THE FUND CAN ONLY BE USED TO LIQUIDATE A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO BREAK IT UP. IN SHORT, IT IS A FUNERAL TAX. IT'S A FUNERAL TAX ON THE LARGEST BANKS, NOT THE TAXPAYERS. THE $50 BILLION FUND IN THAT BANKING COMMITTEE BILL ONLY GETS TAPPED TO PAY FOR THEIR FUNERAL EXPENSES. SO HERE WE'RE... THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HEAR THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP TALK ABOUT ALL OF THIS. IT'S A RED HERRING. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT ACTION, AND HERE WE ARE STUCK IN PROCEDURAL GRIDLOCK, AND THE ONLY WINNERS, GUESS WHO THEY ARE ARE? AS WE SIT HERE TRYING TO BREAK A FILIBUSTER ON MONDAY, AGAIN TUESDAY, AGAIN TODAY, SHORTLY AFTER NOON, THE ONLY WINNERS ARE THE WALL STREET BANKERS WHO HAVE MASTERED THE ART OF USING THE BROKEN FINANCIAL REGULATORY SYSTEM TO ALMOST BRING DOWN THE COUNTRY'S FINANCES BY DECEIVING INVESTORS AND, THEREFORE, ULTIMATELY TO SAVE OUR SYSTEM, TO MILK THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. ONE OF THE MAJOR BENEFICIARIES OF THE CURRENT SYSTEM, MR. PRESIDENT, IS THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. A SUBJECT MATTER THAT THE SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA, WHO SITS IN THE PRESIDING OFFICER'S CHAIR NOW, HAS SOME FAMILIARITY AND WILL BE OFFERING AN AMENDMENT. AND THIS SENATOR IS GOING TO JOIN HIM IN THAT AMENDMENT. CREDIT RATING AGENCIES, SOMETHING THAT NORMALLY IS JUST DOWN IN THE WEEDS BECAUSE IT'S SO COMPLICATED, THESE ARE PRIVATE COMPANIES THAT ASSESS THE CREDIT WORTHINESS OF VARIOUS TYPES OF DEBT INSTRUMENTS, SUCH AS BONDS AND MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES AS WELL AS THE ISSUERSISSUERS -- RATING THE ISSUERS OF THOSE INSTRUMENTS. AND WHAT THEY DO IS THEY TYPICALLY ASSIGN A LETTER GRADE THAT IS DESIGNED TO CONVEY THE RISK OF DEFAULT. AND THERE ARE THREE MAJOR CREDIT RATING AGENCIES ON WALL STREET. THERE'S MOODIES, THERE'S STANDARDS & POOR'S AND THERE'S FITCH RATINGS. AND FOR MOST OF THE LAST CENTURY, THE RATING AGENCIES WERE PAID BY INVESTORS WHO SUBSCRIBED TO THEIR SERVICES. AND WHY DID THEY DO THAT? BECAUSE IT MADE SENSE, BECAUSE INVESTORS WERE THE ONES THAT WERE INVESTING THEIR MONEY, AND THEY WERE THE CONSUMERS OF THE RATINGS. THEY WANTED THE BEST INFORMATION REGARDING THE RISK THAT THEY WOULD HAVE IN THAT INVESTMENT. WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, IN THE 1970'S, ALL OF THIS CHANGED. AND THE BUSINESS MODEL FLIPPED, AND THE RATING AGENCIES BEGAN CHARGE THE ISSUERS OF THE BOND -- BEGAN CHARGING THE ISSUERS OF THE BONDS, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SEEKING TO KNOW IF IT WAS A GOOD CREDIT RISK IN ORDER TO PUT THEIR MONEY; IT WAS REVERSED. IT WAS THE VERY ISSUERS OF THE CREDIT WHO, RATHER THAN THE INVESTORS WHO WERE CHARGING FOR THEIR SERVICES. AND SO BEGINNING IN THE 1970'S, RATING AGENCIES BEGAN TO BE PAID BY THE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO HAD A VESTED INTEREST IN RECEIVING A HIGH INVESTMENT GRADE. NOW, JUST THINK ABOUT THAT. THE VERY ISSUERS OF THE BONDS WHO WANTED PEOPLE TO INVEST THEIR MONEY IN THESE BONDS NEEDED A HIGH CREDIT RATING ON THAT BOND IN ORDER TO GET PEOPLE TO INVEST. AND IF THEY COULD BE RATED AT TRIPLE-A, AS OPPOSED TO D, PEOPLE WERE MUCH MORE WILLING TO PUT THEIR MONEY INTO THIS INSTRUMENT. WELL, TALK ABOUT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. NOW THE ISSUERS OF THE BONDS, WHO HAVE AN INTEREST IN A HIGH TRIPLE-A RATING GO OUT AND HIRE THE SERVICES OF THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. MR. PRESIDENT, DID YOU EVER HEAR THE OLD ADAGE, "HE WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE?" WELL, THOSE WHO WERE GOING TO PAY THE PIPER WERE GOING TO CALL WHAT THAT TUNE WAS. IF YOU THINK -- IF YOU'RE PAYING THE BILL TO THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY THAT YOU HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING A TRIPLE-A RATING THAN A LOWER RATING? OF COURSE YOU DO. AND THAT IS A WALKING CONFLICT OF INTEREST. HOW COULD WE AVOID -- HOW COULD WE ALLOW THIS UNAVOIDABLE CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO EXIST AND ALLOW IT TO EXIST SINCE THE 1970'S IS UNFATHOMABLE AND UNBELIEVABLE. AND YET THAT'S THE WAY IT IS. CREDIT RATING AGENCIES FAILED MISERABLY IN THE RUN-UP TO THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. AND IT SURE LOOKS LIKE, LOOKING BACKWARD, THAT THEY PUT PROFITS AHEAD OF PROFESSIONALISM. THEY FAILED TO DETECT THE SEVERE DETERIORATION IN LENDING STANDARDS THAT BEGAN IN THE LATE-1990'S. THEY FAILED TO REVIEW ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LOANS ON WHICH THE SECURITIES THEY WERE RATING WERE BASED. THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THEIR BUSINESS MODEL GAVE THE RATING AGENCIES AN ENORMOUS INCENTIVE TO OVERLOOK PROBLEMS IN MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITY MARKETS. AND IN 2006, CONGRESS PASSED THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY REFORM ACT. I PUT THAT IN QUOTES. THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY REFORM ACT. THE BILL WAS WRITTEN IT SENATE BY THE -- THE BILL WAS WRITTEN IN THE SENATE BY THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, AND IT HAD THE FULL SIGNOFF OF THE CREDIT RATING INDUSTRY. SO HERE'S WHAT THE BILL DID. 2006, IT STANDARDIZED THE PROCESS FOR REGISTERING RATING AGENCIES AND IT GAVE THE S.E.C. SOME NEW OVERSIGHT POWERS OVER RATING AGENCIES, AND AT THE SAME TIME, HOWEVER, THIS SO-CALLED REFORM ACT PROHIBITED THE S.E.C. FROM REGULAR REGULATING -- QUOTE -- "THE SUBSTANCE OF CREDIT RATINGS OR THE PROCEDURES AND METHODOLOGIES BY WHICH ANY RATING AGENCY DETERMINES CREDIT RATINGS." IT GUTTED THE ABILITY TO DOUBLE-CHECK CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. AND FURTHERMORE, TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, THE ACT ALSO CLARIFIED THAT IT CREATES NO PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION. SO IF A PARTY INVESTED IN A PARTICULAR FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT BECAUSE THAT CREDIT RATING WAS HIGH AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE A DOG AND THEY LOST LOTS OF MINE MINE -- THEY LOST LOTS OF MONEY, THEY HAD NO PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION THROUGH THE COURTS. NO WONDER THE INDUSTRY SUPPORTED THAT LEGISLATION BACK IN 2006. THE BILL, WRITTEN BY THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, TOOK AWAY THE -- ANY POWER OF FEDERAL REGULATORS THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE HAD TO CRACK DOWN ON THE BASELESS CREDIT RATINGS THAT WERE FUELING THE BOOM IN SUBPRIME LENDING. AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THE BILL MADE IT CLEAR THAT IT WAS NOT EMPOWERING THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO HOLD THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES LIABLE FOR THEIR RATINGS. WELL, THE BILL THAT WE HOPE ONE DAY AT SOME HOUR TO GET TO THE FLOOR SO WE CAN START WORKING ON IT, IT DOES SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO IMPROVE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. IT REQUIRES THESE AGENCIES TO DISCLOSE THEIR METHODOLOGIES AND THEIR RATINGS TRACK RECORD. WOULDN'T YOU THINK YOU WOULD WANT TO KNOW THEIR TRACK RECORD IF YOU'RE GOING TO INVEST A LOT OF MONEY BASED ON THEIR AAA RATING? IT REQUIRES AGENCIES TO CONSIDER INFORMATION IN THEIR RATINGS THAT COMES FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO ADDRESSING THE FUNDAMENTAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY BUSINESS MODEL, THIS BILL COMING OUT HERE ON THE FLOOR FALLS SHORT. IT WOULD REQUIRE THE RATING AGENCIES TO SEPARATE RATINGS ACTIVITIES FROM THEIR SALES AND MARKETING ACTIVITIES. AND THAT'S LIKE SAYING THAT MY LEFT ARM HAS NO IDEA WHAT MY RIGHT ARM IS DOING. AND IN REALITY, IT'S THE BRAIN IN YOUR HEAD THAT CONTROLS BOTH THE RIGHT ARM AND THE LEFT ARM AND NO ONE IS PROPOSING TO CHOP OFF THE HEAD. SO WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND WE'RE GOING TO, AND HERE'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO. AND WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS WITH THE HELP OF THE PRESIDING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE. WE'RE GOING TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ESTABLISH A CLEARINGHOUSE TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN RATING ASSIGNMENTS WITH RATING ISSUERS AND AS SIMPLE AS THAT, WE CAN END THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THE CREDIT RATING INDUSTRY IF RANDOMLY IT'S GOING TO BE ASSIGNED AMONG COMPANIES THAT RATE ISSUERS OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS. AND SECONDLY, THIS SENATOR IS GOING TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE THE RATING AGENCIES TO MONITOR, TO REVIEW, AND TO UPDATE THEIR CREDIT RATINGS AFTER THE INITIAL ISSUANCE OF THEIR CREDIT RATING SO THAT IT DOESN'T BECOME STALE. THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT IT, TO REVIEW IT, TO UPDATE IT, TO PUBLISH IT. AND THE RATING AGENCIES SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO WALK AWAY FROM A RATING AFTER ITS BEEN ISSUED, IT'S GOING TO BE FRESH. AND THE RATING AGENCIES OUGHT TO CONDUCT CONTINUED SURVEILLANCE OF THESE SECURITIES AND UPDATE THEM ALONG THE LINE. NOW, THE CREDIT RATING AGENCY REFORM IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY AREAS THAT THE SENATE NEEDS TO DEBATE, BUT AS LONG AS THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP CONTINUES TO PREVENT THE BILL FROM COMING TO THE FLOOR, THIS BROKEN SYSTEM REMAINS IN PLACE. THE WALL STREET BANKERS WIN AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC LOSES. LET ME GIVE YOU SOME EXAMPLES. YOU REMEMBER THE NAME A.I.G.? IT WAS THIS GOLIATH ORGANIZATION THAT STARTED OUT AS AN INSURANCE COMPANY. IT BECAME THIS HUGE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. THE CORE PRODUCT OF THIS COMPANY WAS ITS INSURANCE. AND IT WAS DEEMED TOO BIG TO FAIL AT THE TIME OF THE NEAR MELTDOWN OF OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM SYSTEM. THIS IS BACK IN THE FALL OF 2008 2008. AND IT WAS DEEMED THAT WHEN WE PASSED THE TROUBLED ASSETS RELIEF PROGRAM, TARP, THAT MONEY HAD TO GO INTO THIS BIG GOLIATH ORGANIZATION ALL THE WAY TO THE TUNE OF ABOUT $80 BILLION OF TAXPAYER MONEY AS I LAST RECALL, AND IT MAY BE A LOT MORE THAN THAT, MR. PRESIDENT. WELL, GUESS WHAT THEY DO? THEY HAD ALREADY ISSUED, IF EFFECT, AN INSURANCE POLICY THAT HAD A FANCY NAME. IT WAS CALLED A CREDIT DEFAULT SWAP, AND WHAT IT WAS, WAS AN INSURANCE POLICY AGAINST SOME OF THE COMPANIES IF THEIR INVESTMENTS WENT BAD. THAT'S NOT BAD. BUT WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT WHEN THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER DOLLARS WENT IN TO SAVE A.I.G., A.I.G. TOOK THOSE TAXPAYER DOLLARS AND TURNED AROUND AND PAID OFF THOSE INSURANCE POLICIES A HUNDRED CENTS ON THE DOLLAR. IS THAT FAIR WHEN FOLKS LIKE SOME OF THESE FOLKS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE NEWS RECENTLY, LIKE GOLDMAN SACHS, GOT PAID OFF TO THE TUNE OF $13 BILLION INSTEAD OF GOING IN AND NEGOTIATING A LOWER PAYOFF SINCE IT WAS TAXPAYER MONEY? WELL, WE -- WE OUGHT TO CHANGE THAT. AND I THINK WE WILL, IF WE CAN EVER GET TO THE BILL, IF THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WILL EVER ALLOW US TO GET TO THE BILL. OR LET'S TAKE ANOTHER EXAMPLE. WHAT ABOUT THESE SAME INSURANCE POLICIES CALLED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS AND LET'S SAY THAT HAD THE SAME SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES WITH A.I.G. OCCUR BUT A.I.G. HAD NOT BEEN BAILED OUT BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER AND, INSTEAD, HAD GONE INTO BANKRUPTCY. AND A.I.G. IN THIS EXAMPLE, HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE, HAD A LOT OF CREDITORS THAT WOULD GET IN LINE UNDER THE BANKRUPT LAW -- UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY LAW TO GET WHATEVER THEY COULD BUT OH, NO, THESE INSURANCE POLICIES CALLED CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM THE BANKRUPTCY LAWS. THEY WOULD GET PAID OFF IN FULL FIRST INSTEAD OF HAVING TO GET IN LINE WITH ALL THE OTHER CREDITORS UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY LAW. WELL, THAT'S NOT RIGHT. THIS SENATOR IS GOING TO HAVE AN AMENDMENT TO THE BANKRUPTCY -- TO THE BANKING COMMITTEE'S BILL TO CORRECT THAT. THERE'S NO REASON THAT THOSE INSURANCE POLICIES SHOULD BE AHEAD OF THE LINE OF EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE CASE OF BANKRUPTCY. WELL, LET'S LOOK. ARE WE PLEASED ABOUT THE EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION OF SOME OF THESE FOLKS THAT HAVE NEARLY CAUSED THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE OF OUR COUNTRY? WHEN TAXPAYER MONEY THROUGH THE TARP SYSTEM WAS BAILING OUT THESE INSTITUTIONS, WHETHER IT BE DIRECTLY, LIKE INTO A.I.G., OR DIRECTLY INTO A PLACE LIKE BANK OF AMERICA, OR WHETHER IT WAS INDIRECTLY COMING THROUGH THESE CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS THAT WERE GETTING PAID OFF 100 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR THAT I JUST DESCRIBED THROUGH THE CONDUIT OF A.I.G. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO THE COMPENSATION OF THOSE EXECUTIVES? WERE THEY STILL GETTING BONUSES? WERE THEY STILL GETTING HIGH SALARIES? WERE THEY HAVING TO TIGHTEN UP THEIR BELTS WHEN, IN FACT, THEIR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS WERE KEPT ALIVE BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER BAILING THEM OUT? NO, WE DIDN'T SEE THAT TIGHTENING OF THE BELT. WE DID NOT SEE ANY EVIDENCE OF HUMILITY. WE DIDN'T SEE ANY EVIDENCE OF APPRECIATION. BUT INSTEAD, WE SAW ARROGANCE DISPLAYED THROUGH HUGE BONUSES THAT WERE BEING GIVEN WITH A TOTAL DISREGARD FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S SACRIFICE OF PUTTING THEIR HARD-EARNED TAXPAYER DOLLARS IN TO SAVE THOSE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I THINK YOU WILL SEE THAT ONCE WE GET OUT HERE ON THE FLOOR THAT, IN FACT, WE ARE GOING TO GET A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS, INCLUDING THIS SENATOR'S AMENDMENT ON A LIMITATION NOT ON EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION BUT A LIMITATION ON THE ABILITY TO DEDUCT FROM THEIR TAX LIABILITY EXCESSIVE EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AND A TIE OF THAT EXCESSIVE EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION TO, IN FACT, PERFORMANCE FOR THAT COMPANY WHO PAYS THEIR SALARY. WE'RE GOING TO SEE THAT. AND SOONER OR LATER, MR. PRESIDENT, WE, IN FACT, ARE GOING TO GET TO THE BILL, EVEN THOUGH THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP CONTINUES TO TRY TO OBSTRUCT AND DELAY, BECAUSE SOONER OR LATER, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE THEIR WAY, AND THEY CLEARLY WANT WALL STREET FINANCIAL REFORM. MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR FLOOR.

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  • 04:29:20 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM TEXAS.

  • 04:29:23 PM

    MRS. HUTCHISON

    I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK ON THE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM AND PARTICULARLY…

    I RISE TODAY TO SPEAK ON THE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM AND PARTICULARLY THE AFFECT OF THE DODD PROPOSAL WHICH CAME OUT OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE, ON WHICH I SIT, THAT WE HAVE BEEN VOTING ON CLOTURE ON FOR THIS WHOLE WEEK. I HAVE HEARD THE SENATORS FROM THE OTHER SIDE TALK ABOUT DELAY. THE REPUBLICANS ARE DELAYING THIS BILL. AND I'VE HEARD THEM FOR THE LAST WEEK SAY IT'S BECAUSE WE'RE SIDING WITH WALL STREET, REPUBLICANS ARE SIDING WITH WALL STREET. WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S ODD TO ME, MR. PRESIDENT, BECAUSE IT'S THE WALL STREET BIG BANKS THAT ARE FOR THIS BILL -- FOR THIS BILL. IT IS CITIGROUP, IT IS GOLDMAN SACHS THAT ARE IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL. THEY ARE PUBLICLY SUPPORTING THE BILL. IT IS THE COMMUNITY BANKS THAT ARE FLOODING BY OFFICE AND THE OFFICES OF MY COLLEAGUES. IT IS THE COMMUNITY BANKS THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN THAT ARE HUGELY CONCERNED WITH THIS BILL. THAT IS THE ISSUE. THE GROUPS THAT ARE OPPOSING DODD'S BILL ARE THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS. THAT'S THE SMALL BUSINESSES OF OUR COUNTRY. THE U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. THE AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM. THE AMERICANS FOR LIMITED GOVERNMENT. FREEDOM WORKS. THE NATIONAL TAXPAYER UNION. THE UNITED STATES AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION. WE HAVE HAD AUTO DEALERS IN OUR OFFICES ALL WEEK WHO ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO GET CREDIT FROM THE LITTLE BANKS AND THE ABILITY TO FINANCE THE BUYING OF AUTOMOBILES. IT IS THE BUILT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION THAT HAD CONCERNS WITH THIS BILL. THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF FARMER COOPERATIVES. THE FARM CREDIT COUNCIL. THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS. THE FERTILIZER INSTITUTE. MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS A BILL THAT IS GOING TO AFFECT OUR ECONOMY. SO MANY OF THE GROUPS THAT I HAVE JUST NAMED ARE THE GROUPS THAT ARE GIVING JOBS IN OUR COUNTRY THAT WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE TO CREATE MORE JOBS, NOT DISCOURAGE IN A TIME LIKE THIS. SO YES, REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO HAVE INPUT ON THIS BILL. THERE HAS NOT BEEN ANY REPUBLICAN INPUT AT ALL. AND, MR. PRESIDENT, IF WE HAVE LEARNED ONE THING AS REPUBLICANS IN THE VAST MAJORITY IN THE SENATE, IT IS THAT WE KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE COMPLETELY SHUT OUT. WE WERE COMPLETELY SHUT OUT OF THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE. WE HAD AMENDMENTS OFFERED DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY. WELL, THE PROCESS WORKED. NOT ONE REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT WAS PASSED, NOT ONE. NEITHER WAS THERE ONE REPUBLICAN VOTE IN THE HOUSE OR SENATE ON THIS BILL, THE HEALTH CARE BILL. SO WE HAVE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE SO THIS TIME BECAUSE WE SEE THE DANGERS IN THE DODD BILL TO OUR ECONOMY AND THE SMALL BUSINESSES AND THE SMALL BANKS, WE ARE SAYING WE'RE NOT GOING TO LET THIS BILL GO TO THE FLOOR IF WE HAVE THE POWER TO STOP IT UNTIL WE HAVE REPUBLICAN INPUT. BECAUSE THE BIGGEST FAILURE IN THE BILL IS THAT IT STILL ALLOWS TAXPAYER BAILOUTS. THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS BILL. THAT'S WHY REPUBLICANS ARE VOTING NOT TO BRING IT UP YET, BECAUSE WE'RE TRYING TO CHANGE THE LANGUAGE IN THE BILL BEFORE IT COMES TO THE FLOOR TO ASSURE THAT THE TAXPAYERS WILL NOT HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BAIL OUT BIG FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT TAKE GAMBLES WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. THAT IS THE HOLDUP. THIS BILL IS NOT A BILL THAT IS FAVORED BY COMMUNITY AND LITTLE BANKS. IT IS FAVORED BY THE BIG BANKS. IT'S FAVORED BY GOLDMAN SACHS AND CITIGROUP. SO LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT THAT. AS WE CONSIDER THE BILL BEFORE US, THE DODD BILL, IT SHOULD FOCUS ON THE GAPS AND HOLDS IN REGULATIONS THAT LED TO OUR NATION'S FINANCIAL CRISIS FROM WHICH WE HAVE NOT YET RECOVERED BECAUSE THERE ARE STILL THOUSANDS, HUNDREDS OF -- ACTUALLY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED BECAUSE OF THAT FINANCIAL CRISIS. WE MUST END TOO BIG TO FAIL. WE MUST END TAXPAYER BAILOUTS. AND THAT IS NOT DONE IN THIS BILL. THAT'S WHY REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING STOP THIS BILL FROM COMING TO THE FLOOR UNTIL IT DOES AT LEAST ONE MAJOR THING, AND THAT IS, TO BE CLEAR, THAT WE STOP TOO BIG TO FAIL IN THIS COUNTRY. PUTTING THE BIG BANKS IN ONE LEVEL OF OPERATION AND SCRUTINY AND ONE LEVEL OF ACCESS TO THE FED, WHICH THIS BILL DOES. THE FED KEEPS ITS SCRUTINY OF EVERY BANK HOLDING COMPANY OF $50 BILLION AND MORE IN ASSETS. THAT'S IT. ALL THE OTHER BANKS IN OUR SYSTEM THROUGHOUT OUR COUNTRY ARE NOT ALLOWED ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE. THEY CANNOT BE MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE UNDER THE DODD BILL. THAT IS THE MAJOR REASON THAT I'M NOT SUPPORTING THIS BILL. IN FACT, I HAVE AN AMENDMENT. IF THIS BILL COMES TO THE FLOOR, I'M GOING TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT THAT SAYS THAT THE LAW TODAY WILL PREVAIL, AND THAT IS THAT COMMUNITY BANKS MAY JOIN THE FED, THAT STATE BANKS MAY JOIN THE FED, BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T DO THAT, YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT THE $50 BILLION AND ABOVE BANKS ARE IN ONE CATEGORY, AND THEY ARE GOING TO BE TEMPORARY PROTECTED, AND THAT MEANS THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO GIVE LOWER RATES IN COMPETITION WITH THE COMMUNITY BANKS BECAUSE IT WILL BE PERCEIVED THAT THE RISK IS LESS. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE DOING. SO I'M GOING TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT TO THE DODD BILL WHICH WOULD ELIMINATE THAT PART OF THE DODD BILL THAT TAKES AWAY FED ACCESS TO THE COMMUNITY BANKS. THE OTHER REASON IT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WE HAVE REGIONAL FED BANKS. THE REASON IT WAS SET UP THAT WAY IS SO THAT THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, THE FEDERAL RESERVE WOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE MONETARY POLICY WITH INPUT, WITH INPUT FROM KANSAS CITY AND DALLAS AND HOUSTON AND SAN ANTONIO AND LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO AND SAN DIEGO, AND ALSO MINNESOTA AND ALSO WISCONSIN. THAT WAS THE CONCEPT OF THE REGIONAL FED BANKS, BUT IF YOU DON'T HAVE DEMOCRATS -- LET ME JUST GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS WHICH IS HEADED BY RICHARD FISHER WHO CAME TO SEE ME LAST WEEK. HE SAID I WOULD GO FROM REGULATING ABOUT $70 BILLION IN BANK ASSETS WITH ALL THE COMMUNITY BANK MEMBERS THAT WE HAVE IN THE DALLAS REGIONAL FED TO THREE, THREE. SO IS THE FED GOING TO LISTEN IN WASHINGTON WHEN THEY ARE MAKING THE MONETARY POLICY TO THE KANSAS CITY FED CHIEF WHO COMPLETELY AGREES THAT WE NEED TO KEEP THE ACCESS OF STATE AND COMMUNITY BANKS TO THE FED, FOR THEIR INFORMATION AS WELL AS THE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, SO THAT WILL BE MY AMENDMENT. COMMUNITY BANKS DID NOT CAUSE THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN. IN FACT, THEY PROVIDED LENDING AND DEPOSITORY SERVICES TO FAMILIES AND SMALL BUSINESSES ACROSS TEXAS AND ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, EVEN IN THE HARD TIMES. THEY WERE MOSTLY THE ONES THAT HELPED THE SMALL BUSINESSES GET THEIR INVENTORY LOANS AND THE HELP IF THEY -- HELP THAT THEY NEEDED FOR LIQUIDITY. NOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT I TALKED TO IN MY HOME STATE THAT I VISITED IN THE SMALL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES FELT LIKE NOBODY WAS LENDING, BUT THE BIG BANKS CERTAINLY WEREN'T. SO THE COMMUNITY BANKS ARE CONTINUING TO MAKE CREDIT AVAILABLE MUCH MORE THAN THE BIG BANKS SO THAT BUSINESSES AND CONSUMERS CAN INVEST AND CREATE THE JOBS THAT WILL LIFT OUR NATION INTO A RECOVERY. DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT RECOVERY WHEN IT'S STILL JOBLESS. THAT'S AN OXYMORON -- JOBLESS RECOVERY. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE OUT THERE UNEMPLOYED. IS THAT A RECOVERY? NO. JOBLESS RECOVERY SHOULD BE OUT OF OUR LEXICON. THAT IS WRONG, AND IF WE ARE GOING TO BUILD JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY, IT'S GOING TO BE THROUGH SMALL BUSINESSES. THE BIG BUSINESSES AREN'T HIRING. DO YOU KNOW WHY THE STOCK MARKET IS UP RIGHT NOW? IT'S BECAUSE THE BIG BUSINESSES AREN'T HIRING. THEY HAVE LOWERED THEIR COSTS. YES, THEY ARE MORE PROFITABLE BECAUSE THEY ARE WORKING WITH FEWER PEOPLE. YOU KNOW, SOMEHOW I'M NOT CONSIDERING THAT A SUCCESS. I THINK WE HAVE TO SAVE OUR COMMUNITY BANKS, AND THIS BILL BEFORE US IS GOING TO HURT THEM, AND THAT IS WHY WE'RE HOLDING IT UP. I WISH I COULD SAY THAT THAT'S THE ONLY PART OF THE BILL THAT HURTS COMMUNITY BANKS, BUT THERE IS ANOTHER PART. IT'S THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU THAT IS CREATED IN THE DODD BILL THAT WILL HAVE A NEW LAYER OF REGULATIONS AND A NEW AGENCY-MAKING NEW REGULATIONS THAT WILL AFFECT THOSE SAME COMMUNITY BANKS THAT ARE ALREADY FULLY REGULATED. WE HAVE SEEN THE EFFECT OF POOR AND PREDATORY LENDING STANDARDS IN THIS FINANCIAL MELTDOWN, AND WE NEED REFORM IN THAT AREA. AMERICANS SHOULD UNDERSTAND ANY AND ALL THE TERMS OF A TRANSACTION, AND THEY NEED TO BE CREDITWORTHY. SUBPRIME LOANS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CREDITWORTHY IS NOT HEALTHY FOR OUR ECONOMY. WE'VE LEARNED THAT FOR SURE. BUT WE DON'T NEED A NEW BUREAUCRACY HOUSED IN THE FED BUT WITH NO FED OVERSIGHT, WHICH IS SORT OF A NONSEQUITUR, BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS IN THIS BILL WHICH I HOPE WE CAN CHANGE. BUT COMMUNITY BANKS ARE ALREADY REGULATED. THEY HAVE ALL OF THE REGULATIONS. EITHER STATE BANKING REGULATIONS OR THE CONTROLLER WITH THE FDIC INSURING THEM, REQUIRING RESERVES. THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOB. THE NEW AGENCY WOULD REMOVE SAFETY AND SOUNDNESS FROM CONSUMER PROTECTION AND HAVE UNLIMITED AND UNCHECKED RULE-WRITING AUTHORITY. THE LEGISLATION DOES INCLUDE AN EXEMPTION WHICH WOULD ALLOW A COMMUNITY BANK WITH LESS THAN $10 BILLION IN ASSETS TO RETAIN EXAMINATION FROM ITS PRUDENTIAL REGULATOR OR THE REGULATORS THAT THEY HAVE NOW. BUT THE EXEMPTION IS FALSE BECAUSE COMMUNITY BANKS WILL STILL BE SUBJECT TO THE NEW AGENCY'S NEW RULES, PRICING AND PROHIBITIONS, ALL OF WHICH WILL ONLY SERVE TO CURTAIL CONSUMER CREDIT OPTIONS. ENHANCING CONSUMER PROTECTIONS SHOULD INSTEAD FOCUS ON LEVERAGING THE EXPERIENCE OF AGENCIES THAT ARE ALREADY IN PLACE LIKE THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. I'M RANKING REPUBLICAN ON THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE. I SEE THE WORK THE F.T.C. IS DOING ON A DAILY BASIS TO STOP THE UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE PRACTICES THAT PREY ON CONSUMERS OF FINANCIAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OFFERED BY NONBANK ENTITIES SUCH AS MORTGAGE LOAN SERVICERS. AS AN EXAMPLE, IN 2009 ALONE, THE F.T.C. AND THE STATES WORKING TOGETHER CLOSELY BROUGHT MORE THAN 200 CASES AGAINST FIRMS THAT PEDDLED PHONY MORTGAGE MODIFICATION AND FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS. RATHER THAN FOCUSING ON TOO BIG TO FAIL OR THE PRACTICES OF LARGE BANKS, THE DODD BILL OVERREACHES AND THREATENS THE AUTHORITY OF THE F.T.C. TO PROTECT CONSUMERS OF NONBANK FINANCIAL PRODUCTS AS IT HAS FOR MANY YEARS. THE F.T.C. WROTE A LETTER TO ME AS RANKING MEMBER OF COMMERCE AND OUR CHAIRMAN JAY ROCKEFELLER AND ASKED FOR ASSISTANCE WITH PRESERVING THEIR CONSUMER PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY. I'M WORKING NOW WITH CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER. HE IS VERY FOCUSED ON THIS. I CAN TELL YOU HE'S VERY FOCUSED BECAUSE I TALKED TO HIM ON THE TELEPHONE YESTERDAY, SEVERAL TIMES, INCLUDING AT 8:00 LAST NIGHT BECAUSE HE IS SO CONCERNED THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO FIX THIS BILL TO MAKE SURE THAT THE F.T.C. IS NOT SHUT OFF FROM WHAT IT ALREADY DOES, WHAT IT ALREADY HAS IN PLACE WITH A NEW OVERLAY OF A NEW AGENCY THAT DOESN'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND IT WOULD HAVE TO HAVE START-UP TIME AND MORE TAXPAYER DOLLARS. INSTEAD, SENATOR ROCKEFELLER WILL HAVE AN AMENDMENT AND I WILL COSPONSOR IT THAT WILL JUST KEEP THE F.T.C. EXACTLY WHERE IT IS NOW, WITH THE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AGAINST COMPANIES THAT OFFER NONBANK FINANCIAL PRODUCTS. AND I HOPE THAT SENATOR DODD WILL WORK WITH US ON THAT AMENDMENT. IN FACT, I'M GOING TO EXPAND IT EVEN BEYOND THAT AND SAY WE SHOULD PUT ALL OF THE NONBANK REGULATION INTO THE F.T.C. INSTEAD OF THIS NEW AGENCY THAT WILL BE ANOTHER BUREAUCRACY, THAT WILL BE CONFUSING IN MANY INSTANCES TO THE BANKS WHICH ARE ALREADY REGULATED. SO I HOPE THAT WE CAN DO SOMETHING IN THIS BILL THAT IS RIGHT IN THE REGULATORY AREA AND PARTICULARLY THE AREA THAT CAUSED THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN WHICH WAS THE NONBANK FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, NOT THE BANKS. THE COMMUNITY BANKS DID NOT HAVE A PART IN THIS FINANCIAL MELTDOWN. SO I HOPE THAT WE CAN FIX THIS BILL WHEN IT COMES TO THE FLOOR. NOW, IT APPEARS THAT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE AND THE RANKING REPUBLICAN, SENATOR DODD AND SENATOR SHELBY, HAVE COME TO AN AGREEMENT ON THE LANGUAGE THAT WILL TIGHTEN AND CLOSE THE LOOPHOLES IN TOO BIG TO FAIL. WE'RE GOING TO HEAR EXACTLY WHAT THAT LANGUAGE IS IN JUST A FEW MINUTES IN OUR REPUBLICAN CAUCUS. THAT WILL BE VERY, VERY GOOD FOR US TO BE ABLE TO THEN COME TO THE FLOOR IF THE DEMOCRATS WILL ALLOW REPUBLICANS TO HAVE SOME INPUT INTO THIS BILL IN THE OTHER ISSUES. SUCH AS FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION JURISDICTION, THE NEW CONSUMER AGENCY THAT I THINK IS OVERREACH AND OVERKILL, AND MOST CERTAINLY TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY BANKS WITHOUT A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE AGAINST THE BIG BANKS. I WANT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD BECAUSE I DON'T WANT THE COMMUNITY BANKS TO SUFFER IN IN COUNTRY. THEY ARE THE -- IN THIS COUNTRY. THEY ARE THE HEART -- THEY ARE THE LIFEBLOOD IN THE HEARTLAND OF OUR COUNTRY AND THEY ARE IN PERIL WITH THE BILL THAT IS ON THE FLOOR. SO I'M KIND OF FRUSTRATED AT HEARING SOME OF THE SPEECHES ON THE FLOOR IN THE LAST WEEK THAT HAVE RAILED AGAINST REPUBLICANS FOR HOLDING UP THIS BILL. YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES, MR. PRESIDENT, NO IS RIGHT ANSWER BECAUSE IF WE BRING A BILL TO THIS FLOOR AND WE HAVE NO ABILITY TO AMEND IT AND WE DON'T FIX TOO BIG TO FAIL, THEN ONCE AGAIN, LIKE THE HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL THAT WAS JAMMED THROUGH THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE WITH NO REPUBLICAN SUPPORT AND NO INPUT, WE WILL BE DOING IT TO OUR ECONOMY AND OUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY. I HOPE THAT WE WILL NOT DO THAT AGAIN. I HOPE THAT WE WILL HAVE A BILL THAT WE CAN ALL AGREE CLOSES THE LOOPHOLES IN TOO BIG TO FAIL SO THAT TAXPAYERS WILL NOT BE ON THE HOOK AGAIN FOR BIG FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS THAT BET WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY ON FANCY DERIVATIVES AND ALL OF THE HEDGES THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE THAT WE PRO -- SENSE, THAT WE PROTECT THE HEDGES THAT DO MAKE SENSE THAT ARE USED BY THE END USER TO KEEP A BUDGET IN PLACE RATHER THAN PASSING BIG PRICE HIKES ON TO CONSUMERS IN OIL AND COMMODITIES. THAT'S WHAT DERIVATIVES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FOR. AND WE DON'T NEED TO STOP THAT. WE JUST NEED TO KNOW WHAT'S IN THOSE BIG DERIVATIVE ISSUES SO THAT PEOPLE WILL HAVE THE INFORMATION AND SO WILL THE REGULATORS. SO WE CAN DO THIS JOB RIGHT. THIS SHOULDN'T BE POLITICAL. DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AREN'T GOING TO GET AN ADVANTAGE FOR PASSING A -- A FINANCIAL REGULATION BILL BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE AREN'T GOING TO KNOW HOW IT WILL AFFECT THEM UNTIL IT'S PASSED AND IN PLACE. SO WHY DON'T WE DO IT RIGHT? LET'S BRING THE BILL TO THE FLOOR WITH SOME KEY PARTS THAT ARE AGREED TO AND THEN LET'S START HAVING AMENDMENTS. AND I'M NOT SAYING EVERY REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT SHOULD PASS, BUT I THINK IT SHOULD HAVE A FAIR HEARING, AND I THINK SOME OF THEM SHOULD PASS IF THIS BILL IS GOING TO PASS THE TEST OF A TRUE BIPARTISAN BILL THAT WILL HAVE MORE THAN JUST A PARTISAN VOTE OUT OF THE SENATE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK YOU FOR LISTENING. NOT THAT WAS YOUR CHOICE, BUT I APPRECIATE IT ANYWAY. AND I HOPE THAT WE WILL DO THE RIGHT THING ON THIS BILL. IT WILL AFFECT OUR FINANCIAL COMMUNITIES, EVERYBODY COMMUNITY IN TEXAS, AND ESPECIALLY THE SMALL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITY BANKS THAT ARE GOING TO BE THE REASON THAT WE RECOVER IF WE DO THIS RIGHT. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:48:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL:

  • 04:50:19 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA. A SENATOR: I ASK THAT THE CALLING OF THE QUORUM BE…

    THE SENATOR FROM IOWA. A SENATOR: I ASK THAT THE CALLING OF THE QUORUM BE SUSPENDED.

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  • 04:50:25 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:50:29 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:50:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:50:37 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:50:45 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 04:50:48 PM

    MR. GRASSLEY

    PRESIDENT, LAST THURSDAY I WROTE TO SECRETARY GEITHNER ASKING WHY THE…

    PRESIDENT, LAST THURSDAY I WROTE TO SECRETARY GEITHNER ASKING WHY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT ALLOWED GENERAL MOTORS TO USE TARP MONEY FROM A TREASURY ESCROW ACCOUNT TO REPAY ITS MULTIMILLION DOLLAR TARP TAXPAYER LOAN. THIS AFTERNOON I RECEIVED A RESPONSE FROM THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. I'D LIKE TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE REPLY AND THE QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN UNANSWERED. LAST WEEK TREASURY AND GENERAL MOTORS ANNOUNCED WITH PRESS RELEASES AND NATIONWIDE TV COMMERCIALS THAT G.M. ARE REPAID ITS TARP LOANS -- QUOTE -- "IN FULL, WITH INTEREST, AHEAD OF SCHEDULE BECAUSE MORE CUSTOMERS ARE BUYING G.M. VEHICLES." END OF QUOTE. HOWEVER, THE HYPE DOES NOT MATCH THE REALITY. TAXPAYERS HAVE NOT BEEN REPAID IN FULL. FAR FROM IT. BUT MANY BILLIONS OF TARP DOLLARS REMAIN INVESTED BY TREASURY IN GENERAL MOTORS, AND MUCH OF IT WILL NEVER BE REPAID. THE NONPARTISAN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATES THAT TAXPAYERS WILL LOSE AROUND $30 OF DOLLARS ON G.M. IN ADDITION, THE PAYMENTS THAT OCCURRED LAST WEEK DID NOT COME FROM REVENUE G.M. EARNED BY SELLING CARS DESPITE WHAT WAS CLAIMED IN THE TV ADS. INSTEAD TREASURY ALLOWED G.M. TO USE FUNDS IN A SEPARATE ESCROW ACCOUNT TO PAY ITS TARP DEBT. THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT'S RESPONSE TO ME TODAY MAKES A POINT OF SAYING THAT G.M. -- QUOTE -- "OWNS THE MONEY IN THE ESCROW ACCOUNT" AS IF THAT SOMEHOW JUSTIFIES ALL THE HOOPLA ABOUT G.M.'S SO-CALLED REPAYMENT. WELL, LET'S LOOK AT HOW G.M. CAME TO OWN THOSE ESCROW FUNDS IN THE FIRST PLACE. THE ESCROW FUNDS WERE PART OF THE TARP MONEY TREASURY PAID FOR G.M. STOCK COMING OUT OF BANKRUPTCY. THE MONEY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED BY G.M. FOR EXPENSES, AS TREASURY CONCEDES. TREASURY HAD THE POWER TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF G.M.'S USE OF THE MONEY TO REPAY THE TARP TAXPAYER LOAN. TREASURY APPROVED AND G.M. PRETENDED IT WAS PAYING THE LOAN BACK FROM REVENUE BECAUSE BUSINESS HAD IMPROVED. BUSINESS MAY HAVE IMPROVED, BUT THAT'S NOT HOW THEY PAID THE LOAN. TAKING TARP MONEY OUT OF ONE ACCOUNT TO PAY BACK TARP LOANS IN ANOTHER ACCOUNT IS NOT AT ALL THE SAME AS PAYING OFF A LOAN WITH ACTUAL EARNINGS AS G.M.'S TV COMMERCIAL IMPLY THAT THEY HAVE DONE. THAT IS WHY I CALL IT AN ELABORATE TARP MONEY SHUFFLE. AND NOTHING IN TREASURY REPLY -- THE LETTER I RECEIVED TODAY CHANGES THAT POINT. THE PUBLIC WOULD KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE TARP ESCROW MONEY BEING THE SOURCE OF THE SUPPOSED REPAYMENT FROM SIMPLY WATCHING THE G.M. TV COMMERCIALS OR READING TREASURY'S PRESS RELEASE. TREASURY'S LETTER TODAY SAYS ALL THESE DETAILS ARE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AND NOTHING NEW. WELL, THAT MAY BE TECHNICALLY CORRECT, BUT IT WASN'T CLEARLY COMMUNICATED THAT WAY TO THE AVERAGE CITIZEN. MOST AMERICANS DON'T PORE THROUGH S.E.C. FILINGS AND SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORTS. THE G.M. COMMERCIAL ALSO DID NOT MENTION THAT G.M. COULD HAVE USED THE TARP ESCROW FUNDS TO REPAY A $2.5 BILLION, 9% LOAN THAT IT RECEIVED FROM ITS UNION HEALTH PLAN AS PART OF THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS. THE UNION LOAN RUNS UNTIL 2017. THE TARP LOAN WAS AT 7% AND RAN UNTIL 2015. NOW, WHAT SORT OF MONEY MANAGER WOULD ADVISE YOU TO PAY OFF A LOWER INTEREST LOAN BEFORE A HIGHER INTEREST LOAN? G.M. AND TREASURY HAVE STILL NOT EXPLAINED THAT AND I HAVE ASKED THE TARP WATCHDOG, SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL NEAL BAROSKY, TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT. AND WORSE OFF, G.M. HAS ADMITTED THAT IT HAS TAKEN AN ADDITIONAL ADDITIONAL $6 BILLION TARP MONEY OUT OF THE ESCROW FUND JUST LAST WEEK WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED. THAT MONEY TOO COULD HAVE BEEN USED TO REPAY THE HIGH INTEREST UNION LOAN. THERE ARE REPORTS THAT G.M. ALSO APPLIED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY FOR A $10 BILLION, 5% LOAN TO RETOOL ITS PLANTS TO MEET FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS. G.M. SEEMS TO BE USING GOVERNMENT MONEY TO PAY BACK GOVERNMENT MONEY AND THEN ASKING FOR MORE GOVERNMENT MONEY AT A LOWER INTEREST RATE. IT SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN TO REFINANCE G.M.'S GOVERNMENT DEBT WITH MORE TAXPAYER MONEY AND NOT PAY IT BACK. G.M. HAD TO ASK PERMISSION FROM TREASURY TO USE THE TAXPAYER STOCK INVESTMENT TO PAY OFF THE TAXPAYERS' LOAN. TREASURY'S RESPONSE TO MY LETTER SAYS THAT -- QUOTE -- "TREASURY RETAINED APPROVAL RIGHTS OVER G.M.'S USE OF FUNDS FROM THE ESCROW ACCOUNT IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE TAXPAYER." END OF QUOTE. WELL, WHY DIDN'T THEY PROTECT THE TAXPAYERS THEN? WHY WOULD TREASURY ALLOW G.M. TO USE ITS EQUITY INVESTMENT TO PAY OFF THE LOAN WHEN IT MEANS GIVING UP THE LEGAL RIGHT TO A 7% RATE OF RETURN FOR THE TAXPAYERS IN EXCHANGE FOR ESSENTIALLY NOTHING? SINCE THE TAXPAYERS HAS AN EQUITY STAKE IN THE COMPANY, IT'S TRUE THAT FUTURE GROWTH OF G.M. COULD THEORETICALLY MAKE TAXPAYERS WHOLE. BUT TAXPAYERS ALREADY HAD THE EQUITY INTEREST BEFORE THE LATEST TRANSACTION AND DIDN'T GET ANYMORE EQUITY AS A RESULT OF THIS TRANSACTION. ANOTHER KEY QUESTION IS: WHY WOULD G.M. ORCHESTRATE A MAJOR MEDIA CAMPAIGN TO MAKE THE PUBLIC THINK THIS ALL REPRESENTS SOME BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT BY G.M. WHEN THE TRUTH IS THAT THE TAXPAYERS ARE STILL ON THE HOOK FOR BILLIONS THAT MAY NEVER BE RECOVERED? USING THE TAXPAYERS STOCK INVESTMENT IN G.M. TO REDUCE ITS DEBT TO TAXPAYERS IS NOT THE SAME AS REPAYING THAT DEBT FOR MONEY ACTUALLY EARNED BY SELLING CARS. TREASURY'S REPLY TODAY DOES NOT EXPLAIN WHY IT APPROVED THIS TRANSACTION. MAYBE IT'S A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. MAYBE NOT. BUT INSTEAD OF MISLEADING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC, WE SHOULD BE CLEAR AND UP FRONT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED. I -- I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 04:59:06 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: MS.…

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL: MS. MS.

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  • 05:00:25 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 05:16:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR IN MINNESOTA.

  • 05:16:07 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    WE IN A QUORUM CALL, MR. PRESIDENT?

  • 05:16:10 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE VITIATED.

  • 05:16:14 PM

    MS. KLOBUCHAR

    PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS THE VERY IMPORTANT BILL THAT WE'RE VERY…

    PRESIDENT, I RISE TODAY TO DISCUSS THE VERY IMPORTANT BILL THAT WE'RE VERY HOPEFUL WE CAN MOVE ON TODAY TO START THE DEBATE ON WALL STREET REFORM. I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE MAY BE AN AGREEMENT TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS BILL. WE DON'T KNOW THAT YET, AND IF IT IS TRUE THAT WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT TO START THE DEBATE ON THIS BILL, THEN IT IS VERY FITTING THAT I GO THROUGH WHY THIS BILL IS SO IMPORTANT F WE DON'T HAVE AN AGREEMENT, THEN IT IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GOT SEVERELY HURT BY THE CRISIS ON WALL STREET BY THE FALL OF MANY OF OUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, AND THEY WERE NOT THE ONES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HURT, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND WE NEED TO FIX THIS SO IT DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. NEARLY THREE YEARS AFTER THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM BEGAN TO MELT DOWN, AMERICA CONTINUES TO SUFFER THE EFFECTS OF THE WORST ECONOMIC CRISIS SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS, HOMES, AND THEIR RETIREMENT SAVINGS. ALTHOUGH SOME KEY INDICATORS ARE BEGINNING TO MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, MANY FAMILIES -- LIKE THOSE THAT WE NO IN MINNESOTA -- ARE STILL STRUGGLING AND THE ECONOMIC DAMAGE IS SO SLOW TO HEAL IN THEIR TOWNS. ON WALL STREET, HOWEVER, IT SEEMS TO BE BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL. LAST YEAR WALL STREET'S LARGEST FIRMS HANDED OUT RECORD BONUSES TOTALING NEARLY $146 BILLION, AN 18% INCREASE FROM 2008. MEANWHILE, OVERALL U.S. PER CAPITA INCOME DECLINED 2.6%. SO IT'S LITTLE SURPRISE THAT WALL STREET FINANCIERS ARE NOT ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT REFORMS THAT COULD CHANGE THE WAY THEY DO BUSINESS. IN FACT, SOME OF THEM CLAIM THAT WALL STREET JUST HAS A FEW POTHOLES THAT NEED FIXING. WELL, I THINK IT NEEDS MORE THAN THAT, MR. PRESIDENT WHAT. WALL STREET REALLY NEEDS IS MORE STOP SIGNS AT KEY INTERSECTIONS AND SOME REALLY GOOD TRAFFIC COPS. THIS BILL THAT WE HAVE TODAY, IT IS THE PRODUCT OF MONTHS OF BIPARTISAN NEGOTIATION. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, THIS BILL WOULD CREATE A NINE-MEMBER FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT COUNCIL CHAIRED BY THE TREASURY SECRETARY AND MATED MADE UP OF FEDERAL FINANCIAL. THIS WOULD SERVE TO OVERSEE FINANCIAL RISK, SOMETHING THAT WAS CLEARLY LACKING LACKING YEARS, WHEN THE MARKET WENT TUMBLING DOWN. THE DOMINO EFFECT OF DEEPLY CONNECTED FINANCIAL COMPANIES SUCH AS INSURANCE GIANT A.I.G. JUST CREATE ECONOMIC RIPPLES. IT CENT TSUNAMI WAVE. THIS FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT COUNSEL SHRILL BE CHARGED WITH SKANK THE SYSTEM FOR SYSTEMIC RISK AND PUTTING SPEED BUMPS IN PLACE TO ENSURE WE NEVER SEE A CRISIS LIKE THIS ONE AGAIN. THIS COUNCIL WILL FOR THE FIRST TIME BRING THE REGULATORS TOGETHER TO FORM A PICTURE OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM SO ONE REGULATOR WON'T BE OFF DEALING WITH ONE PROBLEM WHILE ANOTHER IS DEALING WITH ANOTHER WITH NO INFORMATION BEING SHARED. THIS WAY THERE'LL BE ONE PLACE WHERE THEY CAN LOOK AT THE ENTIRE FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND LOOK FOR THOSE WARNING SIGNS OF PROBLEMS. THIS BILL WILL ALSO STAND AT THE INTERSECTION AND MAKE FIRMS SLOW DOWN BY INCREASING THE COSTS OF BEING LARGE AND COMPLEX. THE MOST INTERCONNECTED FIRMS WILL BE REQUIRED TO HOLD LARGER LEVELS OF CAPITAL TO MINIMIZE THEIR RISK TO THE SYSTEM IF THE INVESTMENTS GO BAD. ALL WE'RE ASKING SHEER THAT TAXPAYERS DON'T HAVE THROUGH BAIL OUT THESE FIRMS, THAT THEY HAVE SIGNIFICANT RESORRIESES AND ENOUGH RESOURCES ON HAND IN CASE THEY FACE TROUBLED TIMES AGAIN. IF FIRMS ARE GOING TO CREATE RISK TO THE SYSTEM, THEY NEED TO TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY. WE CLEARLY SAW IN THIS CRISIS WHAT A LACK OF CAPITAL CAN BRING -- CAN DO, THOUSAND CAN BRING A FIRM TO THE BRINK, AND THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL THAT THIS CAN CAUSE WHEN THEY'RE UNABLE TO ATTRACT NEW INVESTORS. NOW, AS MUCH AS WE WOULD LIKE, WE CAN'T SIMPLY PREDICT HOW A FUTURE CRISIS MIGHT UNFOLD. AND I BELIEVE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS WE CAN TAKE FROM THIS CRISIS IS THAT THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER SHOULD NEVER AGAIN BE LEFT ON THE HOOK FOR THE UNCONSCIONABLE BETS OF WALL STREET. THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER IS NOT LIKE A CASINO WHERE YOU CAN JUST GO OUT AND PLAY GAMES AND THROW THEIR MONEY AROUND AND THEN MAYBE SOME OF IT COME BACK AND SOME OF IT WON'T. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. PREVENTING AMERICAN TAXPAYERS FROM BEING FORCED TO BAIL OUT FINANCIAL FIRMS STARTS WITH STRENGTHENING BIG FINANCIAL FIRMS TO BETTER WITHSTAND STRESS, LOOKING OUT FOR SYSTEMIC RISK, AND PUTTING A PRICE ON ACTIVITIES THAT POSE RISK TO THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. IN ANY EVENT THAT A FIRM IS TO FAIL, THIS BILL CREATES A SAFE WAY TO LIQUIDATE FAILED FINANCIAL FIRMS THAT WON'T LEAVE THE TAXPAYER ON THE HOOK. FIRST OF ALL, IT UPDATES THE FEDERAL RES. AUTHORITY TO ALLOW SYSTEMWIDE SUPPORT BUT TO LONGER ALLOWS IT TO POP PROP UP AN INDIVIDUAL FIRM. IT REQUIRES LARGE FINANCIAL COMPANIES TO SUBMIT PLANS FOR THEIR RAPID AND ORDERLY SHUTDOWN SHOULD THEY START TO GO UNDER. THESE PLANS WILL HELP REGULATORS UNDERSTAND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COMPANIES THEY OVERSEE AND SERVE AS A ROAD MAP FOR SHUTTING THEM DOWN IF THE COMPANY FAILS. MOST LARGE FINANCIAL COMPANIES ARE EXPECTED TO BE RESOLVED THROUGH THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS. BANKRUPTCY ALLOWS THESE -- THOSE THAT INVEST IN A FIRM TO BETTER ASSESS THEIR RISK AND IT ALLOWS THE POBILITYD THAT A COMPANY WILL EMERGE -- THE POSSIBILITY THAT A COMPANY WILL EMERGE IN SOME WAY INTACT. IF WE HAVE A SITUATION WHERE A FIRM WON'T GO INTO BANKRUPTCY AND ITS FAILURE COULD BRING DOWN THE WHOLE SYSTEM, WE MAKE THE PROCESS OF RESOLUTION AS HARD AS WE CAN ON THAT FIRM. WE START BY SHUTTING DOWN THE BUSINESS AND THROWING OUT THOSE THATTHAT CAUSED THE MESS. THIS IS A VERY DIFFERENT ROUTE THAN WE TOOK WHERE WE PROPPED UP FIRMS AND KEPT THEM ALIVE BECAUSE OF THE RISK THAT IT COULD POSE TO THE ENTIRE FINANCIAL SYSTEM. WE DON'T WANT TO BE IN THAT POSITION AGAIN. THE TAXPAYERS DON'T WANT TO BE IN THAT POSITION AGAIN. IF A FIRM CHOOSES RESOLUTION, THE TREASURY, THE FDIC, ANDED THE FEDERAL RESERVE MUST FIRST ALL DEGREE TO PUT A COMPANY INTO THE ORDERLY LIQUIDATION PROCESS. A PAFNL THREE BANKRUPTCY JUDGES MUST THEN AGREE CONVENE AND AGREE WITHIN 24 THYRSE A COMPANY IS INSOLVENT. AT THAT POINT, THE FDIC WOULD STEP IN AND RESOLVE THIS THROUGH AN ORDERLY PROCESS AND IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T HARM THE OVERALL SYSTEM. THE COST OF RESOLUTION WOULD BE PAID FOR NOT BY THE TAXPAYER BUT BY A $50 BILLION FUND BUILT UP OVER TIME -- AND THIS IS KEY -- PAID FOR BY THE INDUSTRY, PAID FOR BY THE DESCRIRKS NOT BY THE TAXPAYERS. -- PAID FOR BY THE INDUSTRY, NOT BY THE TAXPAYERS. I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT A KEY PORTION OF THE BILL THAT CAME OUT OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE, LED BY CHAIRMAN LINCOLN. THE PORTION OF THAT BILL I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS THE FOCUS ON TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE OVER-THE-COUNTER DERIVATIVES MARKET. BRINGING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE OVER-THE- OVEROVER-THE-COUNTER DERIVATIVES MARKET IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANY OTHER PIECE OF REFORM THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE DEBATING. RECKLESS TRADING OF UNRECREATED OVER-THE-COUNTER DERIVATIVES PLAYED A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN TRIGGERING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN THE FALL OF 2008. A.I.G. USING A TYPE OF DERIVATIVE KNOWN AS A CREDIT DEFAULT SWAP TOOK ENORMOUS RISK AND AT LEAST $400 BILLION WORTH OF OTHER COMPANIES' LOANS INCLUDING THOSE OF LEHMAN BROTHERS WERE AT AT STEAK. TREASURY AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE WERE FORCED TO STEP IN TO ACCEPT UNKNOWN, UNTOLD RISK TO THE WORLD FINANCIAL SYSTEM. IN THE END, THE GOVERNMENT GOVERNMENT MUTT PUT UP $180 BILLION TO SAVE A.I.G. FROM COLLAPSE. I POINT IT OUT THAT MENTION THE DANGERS OF AN UNREGULATED DERIVATIVES MARKET. DERIVATIVES WHEN USED PROPERLY AND BACKED BY SUFFICIENT COLLATERAL, PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE IN OUR FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEM. YOU THINK ABOUT AIRLINES THAT WANT TO HEDGE THEIR RISK WITH THE PRICE OF OILMENT, YOU THINK ABOUT AGRIBUSINESSES, ALL OVER THIS COMPANY COUNTRY THAT GOES ON. BUT THIS IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT THING THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, WHEN IRRESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE ALLOWED TO MAKE UNCONSCIONABLE BETS LIDDEN BETS HIDDEN FROM THE VIEW OF THE FINANCIAL REGULATORS, THE ENTIRE FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS THREFNTSED. RIGHT NOW THE OVER-THE-COUNTER MARKET COUNTS ITS TRANSACTION INTO THE HUNDREDS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. BUT UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM, THERE ARE ALMOST NO REQUIREMENTS THAT THE MOST BAIIVELG TERMS OF THESE CONTRACTS ARE -- OR EVEN THEIR EXISTENCE BE DISCLOSED TO RERGTZ OR THE PUBLIC. THINK ABOUT IT, TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS CHANGING HANDS AND NO ONE EVEN KNOWS WHAT'S HASMG THE GOAL OF THE BILL WE HAVE TODAY IS TO FINALLY BRING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO THESE UNREGULATED MARLT MARKETS. FOR THE FIRST TIME, ALL TRADES WILL BE REQUIRED TO BE REPORTED TO THE REGULATORS AND TO THE PUBLIC. WITH THAT INFORMATION, REGULATORS WILL BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY MONITOR RISK TO THE SYSTEM AND PREVENT MARKET MANIPULATION AND ABUSE. TRANSPARENCY WILL ALSO BENEFIT THOSE THAT USE DERIVATIVES TO HEDGE RISK, AS THEY WILL BE BETTER-EQUIPPED TO EVALUATE THE MARKET AS PRICE INFORMATION WILL FINALLY BE MADE PUBLIC. BY REQUIRING MANDATORY CLEARING AND TRADING FOR STANDARDIZED DERIVATIVES, THIS BILL WILL GREATLY REDUCE THE ABILITY OF RISK TO BUILD UP TO A POINT THAT COULD ONCE AGAIN BURST AND THREATEN THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM. I'VE OBVIOUS SAID, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT WHEN WALL STREET GETS A COLD, MAIN STREET GOT PNEUMONIA. WE CAN'T LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN. IN THIS BILL, CAREFUL CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN MADE TO ENSURE THAT COMMERCIAL ENTITIES -- AND THIS WAS THE WORK DONE IN OUR AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE -- TO MAKE SURE THAT COMMERCIAL ENTITIES THAT HEDGE SOLELY TO MITIGATE THEIR OWN COMMERCIAL RISK ARE NOT BROUGHT UNDER REQUIREMENTS MEANT TO ADDRESS THE FAILURES OF A MARKET THAT THEY HAD NO HAND IN. YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT DIDN'T HAVE A HAND IN THIS PROBLEM THAT GOT AFFECTED. YOU THINK EVEN ABOUT OUR SMALL BANKS, MR. PRESIDENT, IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA. THEY DIDN'T ENGAGE IN THIS KIND OF RISKY BEHAVIOR. I THINK ABOUT THEM SOMETIMES STANDING THERE WITH THEIR BRIEFCASES IN THE HEARTLAND, WITH THOSE CREDIT DEFAULT RISKS SWIRLING AROUND THEIR THEY HAD THEY HEADS THAT THEY NEVER USED SAYING "TOTO, WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE." SOME BANKS IN THIS COUNTRY HAD A BRAIN. SOME BANKS DIDN'T GO TO OZ AND DIDN'T THINK THEY COULD GO BET WITH THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS' MONEY. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING HERE IS TO MAKE SURE WE PUT A TRAFFIC COP AT THOSE INTERSECTIONS, THAT WE PUT SOME STOP SIGNS AT THOSE INTERSECTIONS, THAT WALL STREET ISN'T ALLOWED TO DRIVE DOWN IN THEIR FERRARIS WHILE THE GOVERNMENT IS FOLLOWING BEHIND IN A MODEL-T FORD. ENACTING THESE REFORMS IS NOT JUST IMPORTANT FOR OUR FINANCIAL MARKETS, IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ORDINARY AMERICANS. WHILE VERY FEW PEOPLE OUTSIDE THOSE INVOLVED IN THESE MARKETS, THEIR MISUSE CONTRIBUTED TO A RECESSION THAT LEFT MILLIONS WITHOUT JOBS, BUSINESSES SHUTTERED AND TRILLIONS IN HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS LOST. THE LEGISLATION WE PASSED OUT OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE THAT CHAIRMAN DODD HAS WORKED TO INCORPORATE INTO THIS BILL WILL BRING THESE DARK MARKETS INTO THE LIGHT OF DAY AND ENSURE THAT THEY WILL NEVER AGAIN THREATEN THE STABILITY OF THIS FINANCIAL SYSTEM. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE BRING THIS BEFORE THE SENATE, THAT WE BEGIN DEBATE ON THIS BILL, AND THAT'S, WHY AS WE LOOK AT THE RUMORS SWIRLING AROUND THAT IN FACT THERE IS A DEAL THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE AT LEAST -- A BILL DEAL TO DEBATE, NOT ON THE BILL YET. BUT WE THINK THIS IS A GOOD BILL. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH OUR COLLEAGUES ON IT. WE CAN'T EVEN GET TO "GO." WE CAN'T EVEN GET TO SCTION START" IF WE CAN'T GET THIS BILL TO DEBATE. WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING IT DOFNLT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOBS, THEIR HOMES, AND THEIR SAVINGS ARE SCARED EVERY DAY THAT IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN BECAUSE OF THE RECKLESSNESS OF WALL STREET DESERVE NO LESS. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR. I NOTE THE EABLES AFTER QUORUM. -- I NOALT THE I NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 05:28:48 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

  • 05:29:56 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:15:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE MAJORITY LEADER.

  • 06:15:07 PM

    MR. REID

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 06:15:13 PM

    MR. REID

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MOTION TO PROCEED ON BE AGREED TO. ONCE THE BILL…

    ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THE MOTION TO PROCEED ON BE AGREED TO. ONCE THE BILL IS REPORTED TONIGHT, THE SENATE THEN PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH. ON THURSDAY, APRIL 29, FOLLOWING THE RECOGNITION OF THE LEADERS AND THE DESIGNEES, THE SENATE THEN RESUME CONSIDERATION OF S. 3127. AFTER REPORTING THE BILL TO MAKE OPENING STATEMENTS ON THE BILL, SENATOR LINCOLN THEN BE RECOGNIZED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO 20 MINUTES. ON THURSDAY, NO AMENDMENTS OR MOTIONS WILL BE IN ORDER PRIOR TO OFFERING THE DODD-LINCOLN SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT, AND THAT ONCE THE SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT IS OFFERED, IT BE CONSIDERED READ.

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  • 06:15:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION? WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 06:15:57 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS HERE TO THANK THE…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS HERE TO THANK THE DISTINGUISHED SENATOR FROM ALABAMA WHO HAS BEEN OUR LEADER ON THE BANKING COMMITTEE AND AN EXPERT ON THIS VERY, VERY COMPLEX SUBJECT OF FINANCIAL REGULATION FOR HIS STEADFAST EFFORT IN BRINGING US TO WHERE WE ARE TODAY. AS SENATE REPUBLICANS PLUS SENATOR BEN NELSON OF NEBRASKA HAVE DEMONSTRATED OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS IS THAT WE FELT THE BILL THAT WE STARTED WITH WAS NOT INSIGNIFICANT AND NEEDED TO BE IMPROVED. AND SENATOR SHELBY WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY AS A RESULT OF STAYING TOGETHER TO BE EMPOWERED TO IMPROVE THE BILL THAT HAD PREVIOUSLY COME OUT OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE ON A STRAIGHT PARTY-LINE VOTE. SO I JUST WANTED TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THANK ALL OF MY REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES PLUS SENATOR NELSON OF NEBRASKA IN GIVING US THE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE THE UNDERLYING BILL. AND I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA FOR HIS EFFORTS IN THAT REGARD. I THINK WE HAVE A BETTER STARTING PLACE THAN WE WOULD HAVE HAD EARLIER, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE, THE MAJORITY LEADER INDICATED WE'LL HAVE AN OPEN AMENDMENT PROCESS AND PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO TREAT THIS LIKE THE SERIOUS COMPREHENSIVE BILL THIS IS. WE HAVE MANY AMENDMENTS THAT WE INTEND TO OFFER. OUR MEMBERS WILL BE PREPARED TO ACCEPT REASONABLE AND SHORT TIME AGREEMENTS SO THAT WE CAN GET THESE AMENDMENTS UP AND VOTED ON AND HOPEFULLY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN THE BILL. I KNOW SENATOR SHELBY MAY WANT TO MAKE A FEW OBSERVATIONS.

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  • 06:17:39 PM

    MR. REID

    HAPPY TO YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA AND MY FRIEND FROM CONNECTICUT.…

    HAPPY TO YIELD TO MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA AND MY FRIEND FROM CONNECTICUT. BUT I JUST WANT TO SAY A FEW WORDS FIRST. FIRST OF ALL, I TOO HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR MY FRIEND, SENATOR SHELBY. HE AND I WERE NEIGHBORS IN THE LONGWORTH BUILDING MANY YEARS AGO, AND WE'VE MAINTAINED THAT FRIENDSHIP SINCE. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE DISAGREE ON ISSUES, BUT OUR RELATIONSHIP IS ONE OF FRIENDSHIP. CHRIS DODD HAS HAD AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT YEAR. HE'S HAD LEGISLATION ON THE MOST DIFFICULT ISSUES TO COME BEFORE THIS BODY. IN ADDITION TO THAT, HIS DEAR FRIEND, HIS BEST FRIEND, SENATOR KENNEDY WAS ILL. HE HAD TO TAKE OVER THAT COMMITTEE AND DO HIS BANKING COMMITTEE ALSO. IT'S BEEN A TREMENDOUSLY DIFFICULT YEAR FOR HIM. HE'S DONE IT WITH MASTERY OF THE SENATE RULES AND WITH THE ABILITY TO ARTICULATE HIS POSITION AS WELL AS ANYONE THAT'S EVER SERVED IN THE SENATE. SO I ADMIRE AND APPRECIATE HIM SO VERY, VERY MUCH. WE ALSO HAVE A NEW CHAIRMAN, SENATOR LINCOLN ON THE AG COMMITTEE, AND SHE HAS DONE A VERY GOOD JOB. SHE TOOK IT OVER JUST A COUPLE MONTHS AGO, BUT STEPPED INTO THAT COMMITTEE AND HAS DONE A REMARKABLY GOOD JOB ON AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT ISSUE DEALING WITH DERIVATIVES AND THINGS LIKE THAT. SO I ADMIRE HER WORK AND I APPRECIATE SO MUCH THE ABILITY OF HER AND SENATOR DODD TO WORK TOGETHER. THEIR STAFFS WORKED ALL WEEKEND TRYING TO PUT TOGETHER THIS SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT THAT WE WILL OFFER TOMORROW. I'M VERY GRATEFUL FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP IN THE CONFERENCE, THE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE. THEY DO GOOD WORK ALL THE TIME. AND WE HAVE SO MUCH TO DO IN THE WEEKS AHEAD IN THIS WORK PERIOD. BUT THIS IS AN ISSUE WE'RE GOING TO GO ON. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WAITED LONG ENOUGH FOR THEIR LEADERS TO GET TO WORK, GET TO WORK CLEANING UP WALL STREET. FIRST ON MONDAY, THEN ON TUESDAY AND TWICE MORE TODAY. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO VOTE TODAY. THAT I THINK'S A DECISION THAT SENATOR McCONNELL AND I MADE THAT THERE WAS NO NEED TO HAVE A VOTE. THERE WAS AN AGREEMENT TO MOVE TO THE BILL, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO DO ALL WEEK. SOME DEMOCRATS HAVE ASKED ONE THING: THAT WE BE ALLOWED TO DEBATE, THAT WE SIMPLY BE ALLOWED TO DO OUR JOB AS LEGISLATORS AND LEGISLATE. WE BELIEVE IN THIS BILL TO CRACK DOWN ON WALL STREET AND PROTECT FAMILY'S SAVINGS AND SENIORS' PENSIONS. WE NEVER ASKED THE SENATE TO UNANIMOUSLY OR BLINDLY APPROVE A SINGLE POLICY. WE NEVER SOUGHT TO SEND THIS BILL DIRECTLY FROM THE COMMITTEE ROOM TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK. THE ONLY THING WE FOUGHT FOR IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THAT CONVERSATION. AFTER MONTHS OF BIPARTISAN MEETINGS AND NEGOTIATION, IT'S TIME TO MOVE THIS DEBATE FROM THE SIDE LINES TO THE PLAYING FIELD, TO THE SENATE FLOOR WHICH IS WHERE IT BELONGS. SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE FINALLY AGREED TO LET US BEGIN THIS DEBATE. I APPRECIATE THAT AND HOPE IT FORESHADOWS MORE COOPERATION TO COME. I KNOW REPUBLICANS HAVE THEIR OWN SUGGESTIONS AND AMENDMENTS FOR IMPROVING THIS BILL. SO DO DEMOCRATS. NOW WE'LL BE ABLE TO BEGIN THAT PROCESS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL FINALLY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WATCH AND WEIGH THOSE IDEAS. NOTHING HAS CHANGED FROM OUR END SINCE MONDAY. THE ONLY THING THAT'S DIFFERENT IS THE DATE. WE'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO START THE DEBATE ON WALL STREET REFORM WITH AN OPEN BIPARTISAN AMENDMENT PROCESS. I'LL OFFER THE FIRST AMENDMENT COMBINING THE BEST PARTS OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE AND AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE'S BILLS. THAT WILL BE WHAT WE WILL WORK FROM. LET'S GET TO WORK AND LET'S DO OUR UTMOST TO MAKE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE PROUD OF OUR EFFORTS. LET'S WORK FOR THEM -- THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. LET THEM KNOW THAT WALL STREET NEEDS REFORMING. DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS, ALL AMERICANS BELIEVE IT. SO LET'S SHOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE WILL LIST TON WHAT THEY SAY.

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  • 06:21:47 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE REPUBLICAN LEADER.

  • 06:21:49 PM

    MR. REID

    BE NO MORE VOTES TONIGHT.

  • 06:21:52 PM

    MR. McCONNELL

    MR. PRESIDENT? LET ME JUST SAY AGAIN, BEFORE TURNING TO SENATOR SHELBY,…

    MR. PRESIDENT? LET ME JUST SAY AGAIN, BEFORE TURNING TO SENATOR SHELBY, HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATE HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS AND HOW MUCH WE APPRECIATE ALL OF OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES PLUS SENATOR NELSON GIVING HIM THE ABILITY TO IMPROVE THE BILL THAT CAME OUT OF COMMITTEE. MUCH HAS INDEED CHANGED SINCE MONDAY. AND I THANK SENATOR SHELBY FOR HIS LEADERSHIP ON THIS. I ALSO WANT TO COMMEND SENATOR DODD FOR THE SPIRIT IN WHICH THOSE DISCUSSIONS WERE COMMENCED. MR. PRESIDENT, I SEE THE SENATOR FROM ALABAMA ON THE FLOOR, AND I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 06:22:29 PM

    MR. SHELBY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'LL BE BRIEF. FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO THANK THE REPUBLICAN…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I'LL BE BRIEF. FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO THANK THE REPUBLICAN LEADER, SENATOR McCONNELL, FOR HIS KIND WORDS. ALSO I WANT TO THANK MY FRIEND, THE MAJORITY LEADER, SENATOR REID, FOR HELPING US BRING US WHERE WE ARE TODAY. BUT MORE THAN THAT, I WANT TO COMMEND SENATOR DODD, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE, WHO I'VE WORKED WITH FOR YEARS AND YEARS. WE HAVE WORKED CAN EXCEEDINGLY CLOSE ON MANY ISSUES DEALING WITH THE BANKING COMMITTEE. WHAT WE'RE BRINGING TO THE FLOOR NOW IS SOMETHING VERY COMPLEX, VERY FAR-REACHING. THE IDEA THAT SOMETHING SHOULD BE TOO BIG TO FAIL IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. NOTHING SHOULD BE TOO BIG TO FAIL, IN MY JUDGMENT, IN THIS COUNTRY. AND I WANT TO COMMEND SENATOR DODD. IN OUR NEGOTIATIONS, WE HAVE REACHED SOME ASSURANCES IN THAT HE HAS AND HIS STAFF HAVE MADE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE LIKE. AND WE MADE SOME THEY LIKE. I THINK WE MADE REAL PROGRESS ON THAT. I KNOW WE HAVE TO SEAL IT, BUT I THINK THAT SENATOR DODD IS WORKING IN GOOD FAITH ON THAT. BUT WE'VE GOT THE DERIVATIVES TITLE AND WE'VE GOT THE CONSUMER PRODUCTS DEAL. AND WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO RESOLVE THOSE YET. I HOPE WE WILL ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE. WE MOVED TO A NEW FORUM, AND IT'S GOING TO BE A VERY IMPORTANT DEBATE IN THE WEEKS AHEAD HERE, BECAUSE THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 06:24:14 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT.

  • 06:24:16 PM

    MR. DODD

    MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME BEGIN BY THANKING THE MAJORITY LEADER FOR HIS WORK…

    MR. PRESIDENT, LET ME BEGIN BY THANKING THE MAJORITY LEADER FOR HIS WORK ON THIS. AND LET ME THANK THE MINORITY LEADER AS WELL. THIS HAS BEEN A BIT ACRIMONIOUS OVER THE LAST TEN DAYS OR SO AS WE TRIED TO GET TO THE FLOOR,th BILL. AND OF COURSE I WANT TO THANK RICHARD SHELBY. HE AND I, AS HE POINTS OUT, HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER OVER THE LAST 37 MONTHS DURING MY STEWARDSHIP OF THE BANKING COMMITTEE THAT I INHERITED IN JANUARY OF 2007. I NOTED THE OTHER DAY THERE'S SOME 42 MEASURES THAT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT OUT OF OUR COMMITTEE. 37 OF THEM HAVE BECOME THE LAW OF THE LAND. THIS IS A GOOD RESULT. WE'RE NOW ON THE BILL WHICH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT US TO BE ON. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE. WE HAD THE HEADLINES OF THE HEARINGS HERE YESTERDAY INVOLVING MORTGAGE DEALS; THE OTHER HEADLINE ABOUT GREECE AND ITS DEBT, ITS BONDS WERE SINKING, CAUSING ECONOMIC PROBLEMS IN EUROPE, POTENTIALLY HERE. THESE PROBLEMS ARE HUGE, MR. PRESIDENT. AND AS SENATOR SHELBY HAS SAID AND I'VE SAID OVER AND OVER AGAIN, THAT IS COMPLEX AREA OF LAW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. AND IT HAS TO BE GOTTEN RIGHT. WE'VE HAD VERY GOOD CONVERSATIONS ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES GOING BACK OVER MANY, MANY WEEKS. WE BOTH SHARED THAT WE AGAIN HAVE INSTITUTION THAT IS BECOME TOO BIG TO FAIL WITH THE IMPLICIT GUARANTEE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL BAIL THEM OUT. I'M SATISFIED THAT OUR BILL DOES THAT ALREADY, BUT I APPRECIATE THERE ARE OTHERS WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT TIGHTER, THINK WE CAN DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THIS BETTER AND MORE WORKABLE. I'M ANXIOUS TO HEAR THAT. I KNOW MY COLLEAGUE FROM CALIFORNIA, BARBARA BOXER, HAS IDEAS SHE WOULD LIKE TO RAISE. I MENTIONED MY COLLEAGUE FROM ALABAMA, HE HAS ISSUES HE'D LIKE TO RAISE. WE'VE HAD GREAT CONVERSATIONS AS TWO PEOPLE WITH GOODWILL CAN HAVE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A VERY BUSY COUPLE OF WEEKS COMING UP NOW. THERE ARE A LOT OF MEMBERS WHO HAVE VERY STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BILL. OUR JOB, MY JOB, OUR JOB WILL BE TO SEE TO IT THAT PEOPLE HAVE A CHANCE TO OFFER THEIR AMENDMENTS, TO DEBATE THEM AND TO GO THROUGH THAT PROCESS. I MAY SOUND PRETTY OLD-FASHIONED, MR. PRESIDENT IN, THIS REGARD. AS I POINTED OUT LAST NIGHT, I FIRST HAD A VOW TO THIS CHAMBER AS I SAT HERE IN A BLUE SUIT AS A PAGE, WATCHING LYNDON JOHNSON SIT WHERE YOU ARE, MR. PRESIDENT AND WATCHING MIKE MANSFIELD AND EVERETT DIRKSEN, LISTENING TO DEBATES ON CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE 1960'S WHEN THIS CHAMBER IN DIFFICULT MOMENTS WORKED TOGETHER FOR THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF OUR COUNTRY. I HAVE GREAT REVERENCE FOR THIS INSTITUTION AND I WANT TO SEE IT WORK AS OUR FOUNDING FATHERS INTENDED IT TO THAT WHERE YOU HAVE IMPORTANT DEBATE THAT, WE WORK TOGETHER. AND THAT'S WHAT I INTEND TO DO AS THE MANAGER OF THIS BILL, TO MAKE SURE THAT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES, WHETHER THEY SIT ON THIS AISLE OR THAT SIDE OF THE AISLE, WE'RE FALL THIS CHAMBER TOGETHER TO TRY TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SO BADLY HURT, THE HOMES LOST, THE JOBS THAT HAVE EVAPORATED, THE RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS THAT HAVE DISAPPEARED FROM PEOPLE. THEY WANT TO SEE US WORK TOGETHER TO GET A JOB DONE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR OUR COUNTRY. AND I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT WE CAN DO THAT. AND I WILL DO MY VERY, VERY BEST, I SAY TO MY FRIEND FROM ALABAMA, I SAY TO THE MINORITY LEADER AS I SAID TO THE MAJORITY LEADER, TO ACT WITH FAIRNESS, TO WORK TOGETHER TO TRY TO RESOLVE MATTERS SO WE CAN HAVE A GOOD OUTCOME ON THIS BILL. OBVIOUSLY WE CAN'T PREDICT THAT. I KNOW THERE WILL BE SOME WHO WANT TO MAKE THIS A BIG FIGHT, THAT THAT'S A GREAT, GREAT ISSUE MAYBE FOR THE DAY OR THE WEEK. DO YOU IT, AND WHO WINS, WHO LOSES HERE. THAT'S A GREAT STORY. BUT THIS IS NOT AN ATHLETIC CONTEST WE'RE INVOLVED IN. IT IS A DECISION TO TRY TO PUT OUR COUNTRY ON A FAR MORE SOUND FOOTING OF SECURITY. I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH SENATOR SHELBY. WE'RE GOOD FRIENDS. I ADMIRE HIM IMMENSELY. HE UNDERSTANDS THE JOB OF BEING A CHAIRMAN. I'M DETERMINED TO GET THE JOB RIGHT, MR. PRESIDENT. I ENCOURAGE OUR COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE IDEAS AND AMENDMENTS TO COME FORWARD, SHARE THEM WITH US. WE'RE GOING TO SET UP SHOP OVER THE WEEKEND TO MAKE SURE WE'RE THERE. WE'VE SO WE'VE GOT IDEAS WE CAN CONSIDER, ACCEPT, MAYBE MODIFY, MAKE IT WORK RIGHT. FROM THAT SPIRIT, WE CAN DO A GOOD JOB HERE AND WE CAN LEAVE THIS CHAMBER AT THE END OF THIS CONGRESS KNOWING THAT WE CONFRONTED A SERIOUS PROBLEM AND STEPPED UP TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY TO TRY AND SOLVE IT FOR THE PEOPLE WE SEEK TO REPRESENT. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I THANK THE MAJORITY LEADER AND HIS STAFFER AND OTHERS FOR THEIR WORK. I THANK SENATOR SHELBY AND HIS WORK. AGAIN, THIS CONVERSATION WILL CONTINUE. WE'VE GOT A LOT OF WORK TO DO. IT'S BEEN VERY WORTHWHILE AND VERY PRODUCTIVE OVER THESE LAST NUMBER OF WEEKS, AND WE INTEND TO KEEP IT IN THAT FORUM. AND I THANK THE MINORITY LEADER AS WELL. AND THE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE. I KNOW IT MUST HAVE BEEN PROBABLY A HEALTHY, GOOD, VIBRANT CONVERSATION FOR THE LAST HOUR AND A HALF IN THERE. BUT EVEN THOSE WHO QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT WE CAN DO THIS, I WANT THIS INSTITUTION TO GET BACK AGAIN TO THE IDEA OF LISTENING TO EACH OTHER, DEBATING THE ISSUES, TAKING OUR VOTES AND PUTTING TOGETHER THE BEST PRODUCT WE CAN. WITH THAT, MR. PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR.

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  • 06:29:34 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 3217 IS…

    OFFICER: UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER, THE MOTION TO PROCEED TO S. 3217 IS AGREED TO. THE CLERK WILL REPORT THE BILL.

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  • 06:29:43 PM

    THE CLERK

    NUMBER 349, S. 3217, AN ORIGINAL BILL TO PROMOTE THE FINANCIAL STABILITY…

    NUMBER 349, S. 3217, AN ORIGINAL BILL TO PROMOTE THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES BY IMPROVING ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 06:29:54 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH THE SENATORS…

    THE SENATE WILL PROCEED TO A PERIOD OF MORNING BUSINESS WITH THE SENATORS PERMITTED TO SPEAK FOR UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH. A SENATOR: MR. PRESIDENT?

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  • 06:30:01 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE SENATOR FROM WASHINGTON.

  • 06:30:03 PM

    MRS. MURRAY

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT AND ALABAMA…

    MR. PRESIDENT, I WANT TO THANK THE SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT AND ALABAMA FOR ALL THEIR HARD WORK ON THIS ISSUE. I AM DELIGHTED THAT AFTER THREE VOTES AND THREE FULL DAYS OF PRESSURING THOSE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE TO ALLOW US TO AT LEAST BEGIN DEBATING THIS CRITICAL BILL, IT FINALLY APPEARS THAT THEY HAVE RELENTED. AND FINALLY A APPEARS THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO LISTEN TO NOT ONLY WHAT DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE AFTER STRONG, NEW REFORM BILL FOR WALL STREET BUT WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING AND WHAT WE'VE BEEN SAYING IS THAT IT'S TIME TO HOLD WALL STREET ACCOUNTABLE. IT'S TIME TO PASS STRONG REFORMS THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED OR SIDESTEPPED. IT'S TIME TO END BAILOUTS AND GIVE WALL STREET THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CLEANING UP THEIR OWN MESS. IT'S TIME THAT CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS ARE IN PLAIN ENGLISH AND LOAN TERMS THAT ARE SPHELD OWVMENT IT'S TIME FOR WALL STREET TO COME OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND OUT INTO THE LIGHT OF DAY. AND IT'S TIME FOR NEGOTIATIONS TO COME OUT OF THE BACK ROOM AND ONTO THE SENATE FLOOR. MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S TIME TO PUT AN END TO OBSTRUCTION AND BEGIN WORKING FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES, SO I'M GLAD THAT WE'RE FINALLY NOW ON THIS BILL. YOU KNOW, MR. PRESIDENT, FOR MOST AMERICAN FAMILIES THIS DEBATE IS NOT COMPLEX. IT'S SIMPLE. IT IS NOT ABOUT DERIVATIVES OR CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS. IT IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS. IT'S A DEBATE ABOUT WHEN THEY WALK INTO A BANK TO SIGN A MORTGAGE OR APPLY FOR A CREDIT CARD OR START A RETIREMENT PLAN, ARE THE RULES ON THEIR SIDE? ARE THEY WITH THE BIG BANKS OR WALL STREET? AND FOR FAR TOO LONG, THE FINANCIAL RULES OF THE ROAD HAVE NOT FAVORED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. INSTEAD, THEY FAVORED BIG BANKS AND CREDIT CARD COMPANIES AND WALL STREET, AND FOR TOO LONG THEY HAVE ABUSED THOSE RULES. WHETHER IT WAS GAMBLING WITH THE MONEY IN OUR PENSION FUNDS OR MAKING BETS THAT THEY COULD NEVER COVER OR PEDESTRIANS LING MORTGAGES -- OR PEDDLING MORTGAGES TO PEOPLE THAT THEY KNEW THEY COULD NEVER REPAY THEM, WALL STREET MADE CHOICES THAT CAME AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR WORKING FAMILIES. THAT IS EXACTLY THE REASON WHY WE HAVE ALL FOUGHT SO HARD TO MOVE FORWARD WITH A STRONG BILL. IT IS WHY WE HAVE REFUSED TO BACK DOWN OR SIT BY WHILE IT WAS WATERED DOWN, AND IT'S WHY WE WERE READY TO STAY UP ALL NIGHT OR VOTE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS BILL ALL WEEK LONG. IT'S WHY WE HAVE INSISTED ON A BILL THAT INCLUDES THE STRONGEST PROTECTION FOR CONSUMERS EVER ENACTED, AN END TO TAXPAYER BAILOUTS, AND TOOLS TO GIVE INDIVIDUALS THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO MAKE SMART FINANCIAL DECISIONS. BECAUSE, MR. PRESIDENT, EACH OF US KNOWS THAT THE WHAT THE ANYTHING-GOES RULES HAVE MEANT, EACH ONE OF US HAVE TALKED TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HURT THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. WE HAVE ALL SEEN THE TREMENDOUS COST OF WALL STREET'S EXCESSES. IN MY HOME STATE OF WASHINGTON, IT HAS COST US OVER $ 150,000 JOBS. IT HAS COST SMALL BUSINESSES THE ACCESS TO CREDIT THAT THEY NEED TO GROW AND HIRE. IT'S COST OUR WORKERS THEIR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS THAT THEY WERE COUNTING ON TO CARRY THEM THROUGH THEIR GOLDEN YEARS. IT COST OUR STUDENTS THEIR COLLEGE SAVINGS THAT WOULD HELP LAUNCH THEM THEIR CAREERS. IT HAS COST OUR HOMEOWNERS THE VALUE OF THEIR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET, AS NEIGHBORHOODS HAVE BE DECIMATED BY FORECLOSURES. IT'S COST OUR SCHOOL TEACHERS, OUR PLIRVETION AND OUR COMMUNITIES. IT'S COST YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE DAVID CORATO OF SEATTLE, WHOSE MOTHER SINCE HE WAS VERY YOUNG WOULD TAKE $400 OUT OF HER PAYCHECK AND PUT IT TOWARDS DAVID'S EDUCATION FUND. IT WAS A LONG-TERM SMART INVESTMENT THAT SHE KNEW WOULD PAY OFF FOR DAVID'S FUTURE. WELL, WHEN THAT FINANCIAL CRISIS OCCURRED, HE LOST A THIRD OF HIS COLLEGE FUND -- $10,000. IT'S ALSO COST OLDER PEOPLE LIKE EDWARD DIAZ, WHO'S ALSO FROM WASHINGTON STATE. HE WAS NOT ONLY LAID OFF FROM HIS JOB OF 21 YEARS DUE TO THE RECESSION, BUT HE ALSO LOST $100,000 FROM HIS 401(K) ACCOUNT. ON THE VERGE OF RETIREMENT, EDWARD TELLS ME THAT NOW HE SCOURS THE CLASSIFIEDS EVERY DAY SEARCHING FOR ANY WAY TO GET BACK TO WORK. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, IN THE DAYS AHEAD, AS WE DEBATE THIS BILL, THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER CONSTANTLY. WE HAVE TO KEEP THEM IN MIND AS WE WORK TO PROTECT AGAINST THIS HAPPENING EVER AGAIN. THE PEOPLE WHO, THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, PAID THE PRICE FOR THE RISKS AND IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR OF WALL STREET. THEY WERE PEOPLE IN MY STATE AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO SKIMP SCRIMPED AND SAVED AND MADE RIGHT DECISIONS AND WERE LEFT HOLDING THE BAG. MR. PRESIDENT, NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR HALF MEASURES. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO US NOW FOR REAL REFORM, AND TO PUT PROGRESS BEFORE POLITICS. AND WE HAVE TO PUT PEOPLE BEFORE WALL STREET. THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR, AND I SUGGEST THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM.

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  • 06:35:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL CALL THE ROLL. QUORUM CALL: QUORUM CALL:

  • 06:35:31 PM

    Quorum Call

  • 06:58:56 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    I ASK THAT THE QUORUM CALL BE DISPENSED WITH.

  • 06:59:00 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    WHAT IS THE ORDER?

  • 06:59:03 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: IN MORNING BUSINESS, SENATORS ARE ABLE TO SPEAK UP TO TEN MINUTES…

    OFFICER: IN MORNING BUSINESS, SENATORS ARE ABLE TO SPEAK UP TO TEN MINUTES EACH.

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  • 06:59:08 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    OKAY. I WOULD ASK THAT I BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR AS MUCH TIME AS I MIGHT…

    OKAY. I WOULD ASK THAT I BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR AS MUCH TIME AS I MIGHT CONSUME.

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  • 06:59:15 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THIS IS GOOD NEWS THAT WE JUST…

    MR. PRESIDENT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THIS IS GOOD NEWS THAT WE JUST RECEIVED THAT OUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES HAVE DECIDED TO ALLOW US TO PROCEED TO THE DEBATE ON THE WALL STREET REFORM BILL. I WAS, FRANKLY, CONFUSED AS TO WHY THEY WERE OBJECTING. BUT IN ANY EVENT, WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THAT, I'M JUST VERY PLEASED THAT THEY HAVE BACKED DOWN IN TERMS OF THEIR OBJECTION, BECAUSE WE WANT TO GET TO THIS BILL AND MANY OF US HAVE WAYS THAT WE FEEL IT CAN BE MADE STRONGER. I BET THERE WILL BE SOME AMENDMENTS TO MAKE IT WEAKER, AND THAT'S WHAT THE PROCESS IS ALL ABOUT. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO KNOW TONIGHT IS THAT AN ISSUE OF CRITICAL IMPORTANCE IS MOVING FORWARD IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE. AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO REMEMBER THE REAL REASONS AS TO WHY WE ARE TAKING UP THIS BILL. AND EVEN THOUGH IT IS PAINFUL, MR. PRESIDENT, TO REVIEW THE DARK TIMES OF 2008 WHEN THE -- OUR ECONOMY AND THE WORLD ECONOMY WAS REALLY ON THE BRINK, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO DO THAT REVIEW. AND I ASKED MY STAFF FOUGHT TOGETHER SOME OF THE HEADLINES FROM THOSE DAYS. AND WE'RE GOING TO GO THROUGH A COUPLE OF CHARTS. AND I'LL READ A FEW OF THEM. BECAUSE WE NEED TO REMEMBER -- WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THOSE DARK MOMENTS IN OUR -- IN OUR HISTORY. HERE'S A PICTURE OF A WALL STREET TRADER AND HE IS UNDER A HEADLINE THAT SAYS, "BLACK MONDAY." IT WAS AT A MOMENT WHEN THE FIRST BAILOUT WENT DOWN IN THE HOUSE. IT SAYS, "BAILOUT FAILS. STOCK DROP MOST IN HISTORY." AND THEN YOU LOOK AT THIS ONE, "WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?" "NASDAQ IN BIGGEST FALL SINCE DOT-COM." "TIME" MAGAZINE, "WALL STREET'S LATEST DOWNFALL, MADOFF CHARGED WITH FRAUD." "THE BAILOUT TO END ALL BAILOUTS BAILOUTS." "CREDIT CRUNCH CONTINUES." "U.S. SENTIMENT DECREASE TO A 28-YEAR LOW." "U.S. LOSES 23,000 JOBS IN THE BIGGEST DROP SINCE 1974." SO THAT'S ONE CHART, AND I HAVE ONE OTHER. IF YOU CAN -- JUST TO REMIND US WE'RE WERE. "SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS " -- "FORECLOSURE WAVE, SAN JOSE FIGHTS TO PROTECT NEIGHBORHOODS." "CARNAGE CONTINUES: 524,000 JOBS LOST." "WALL STREET EMPLOYEES SET TO GET $145 BILLION." THAT'S IN BONUSES DURING ALL OF THIS. "ECONOMY IN CRISIS, FORECLOSURE." "LAYMAN FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY." "A.I.G. SEEKS CASH." WE KNOW ABOUT THAT. "WHAT NOW?" IS THE HEADLINE. "WHAT NOW" "DOW FALLS 777." "U.S. PENSION INSURER LOST BILLIONS IN THE MARKET." "HOUSING PRICES TAKE BIGGEST DIVE SINCE 1991." AND HERE'S ONE. "FULL OF DOUBT, U.S. SHOPPERS CUT SPENDING." NOW, I READ THESE HEADLINES TO YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, TO JUST BRING BACK THOSE DARK, DARK, DARK DAYS. AND WHY WE'RE HERE TODAY TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. IF YOU DON'T LEARN FROM HISTORY, YOU ARE DOOMED TO TREEPT. AND -- TO REPEAT IT. AND WE HAVE LEARNED AND WE ARE READY TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. NOW, THOSE DARK TIMES CAME BECAUSE WE ALLOWED WALL STREET TO ENGAGE IN UNREGULATED AND UNSUPERVISED GAMBLING. UNREGULATED AND UNSUPERVISED GAMBLING. NOW, I HAVE TO SAY THAT I'M AN ECONOMICS MAJOR THAT GOES BACK QUITE A BIT OF TIME. AND MANY, MANY, MANY YEARS AGO, MR. PRESIDENT, BEFORE ANY OF THESE KIND OF EXOTIC INSTRUMENTS WERE CREATED, I WORKED ON WALL STREET AS A STOCKBROKER. AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT EVERY TIME THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD SNEEZE, THE MARKET WENT DOWN A FEW POINTS, I WORRIED. I CAN JUST ABOUT IMAGINE HOW I WOULD HAVE FELT IF I WOULD HAVE HAD CLIENTS IN THIS KIND OF SITUATION WHERE THERE WAS NO CONTROL. A SHADOW BANKING SYSTEM GREWUP THAT FUELED AN UNSUSTAINABLE HOUSING BUBBLE. FROM 2001 TO 2007, THE ISSUANCE OF TOXIC PRIVATE MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITIES INCREASED BY 400%. THESE SECURITIES WERE RATED BY THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES. THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE TELLERS OF TRUTH. THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY TO THE CONSUMER, UH-OH -- I SOUNDED LIKE MY GRANDCHILD HERE, WHO SAYS, UH-OH, WHO SAY, DON'T BUY THOSE SECURITIES BECAUSE THEY'RE REALLY NO GOOD. BUT THESE CREDIT AGENCIES, RATING AGENCIES SUCH AS MOODY'S AND STANDARD & POORS, FRANKLY, THEY ACTED LIKE THEY WERE IN THE POCKET OF THE INSURERS. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY GAVE YOU A GOOD ANSWER. IF YOU WANTED ISSUE SECURITIES, I DON'T CARE WHETHER IT'S GOLDMAN OR ANYBODY ELSE, YOU GO TO THESE FELLOWS, YOU PAY THEM AND THEY TELL YOU SOMETHING GOOD. WHAT WENT WRONG? THAT'S A DISASTER. WHERE'S THE FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY IN ANY OF THESE RELATIONSHIPS, MR. PRESIDENT? THE UNREGULATED OVER THE COUNTER DERIVATIVES MARKET ALSO GREW BY OVER 400% TO A VALUE GREATER, LISTEN, THAN THE ENTIRE U.S. ECONOMY. MR. PRESIDENT, THE UNREGULATED OVER-THE-COUNTER DERIVATIVES, THAT MARKET DREW BY OVER 400% TO A VALUE GREATER THAN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES ECONOMY. WALL STREET INSTITUTIONS CRITICAL TO OUR ECONOMY PURPOSELY -- PURPOSELY CREATED COMPLEX PAPER INSTRUMENTS THAT HAD NO REAL VALUE. NO REAL VALUE. WE SEE IN THESE HEARINGS THAT SENATOR LEVIN IS HOLDING. WE SEE WHAT HAPPENED. -- WHAT HAPPENED WHEN ONE COMPANY, GOLDMAN, KNEW -- AND I CAN'T USE THE WORDS THEY USED BECAUSE IT WOULD BE IMPROPER ON THE FLOOR. THEY KNEW A PRODUCT THEY WERE SELLING WAS JUST PLAIN JUNK AND THEY SOLD IT TO THEIR CUSTOMERS. TO THEIR CLIENTS. I MEAN, ONE OF -- ONE OF THE PEOPLE SAID THERE IN AN E-MAIL, "WOW, THINK OF ALL THE ORPHANS AND WIDOWS THAT WE'RE HURTING." THAT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE THE EXXON SCANDAL, WE HAD THE SAME -- ENRON SCANDAL. SORRY, MR. PRESIDENT. THE ENRON SCANDAL WHERE WE HAD TRADERS DOING THE SAME THING WHEN ENERGY PRICES WENT THROUGH THE ROOF. WELL, IN 2007 AND IN THE FIRST PART OF 2008, THE HOUSE OF CARDS BEGAN TO COLLAPSE BECAUSE BACKING UP THESE NEW COMPLEX INSTRUMENTS THAT WALL STREET CREATED WERE THESE EXOTIC LOANS THAT CONSUMERS COULD NEVER REPAY UNLESS HOUSING PRICES CONTINUED TO SOAR TO UNREALISTIC LEVELS. SO THEY -- THEY -- THEY CREATED THESE INSTRUMENTS THAT WERE BACKED BY THESE MORTGAGES THAT WERE DOOMED TO FAIL UNLESS THE ECONOMY CONTINUED TO SHOOT LIKE A STAR STRAIGHT-UP IN THE HOUSING -- AND THE HOUSING MARKET WENT UP. WELL, THE HOUSING BUBBLE BEGAN TO DEFLATE AND THINK ABOUT ALL THESE DERIVATIVES AND ALL THESE EXOTIC SECURITIES THAT WERE BASED ON HOUSING. MORTGAGE LENDERS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS BEGAN TO FAIL. FIRST COUNTRYWIDE, THEN BEAR STEARNS, THE FEDERAL RESERVE HAD TO INTERVENE BEHIND-THE-SCENES TO TRY TO KEEP CREDIT FLOWING. REMEMBER, IN A CAPITALISTIC SOCIETY IN OUR ECONOMY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE CREDIT FLOWING. CREDIT, THAT'S WHAT THE SMALL BUSINESSES NEED. THAT'S WHAT GOVERNMENTS NEED. OVERNIGHT CREDIT, STATE OF CALIFORNIA COULDN'T EVEN GET OVERNIGHT CREDIT. AND THE CRISIS HIT. THE WORST CRISIS HIT IN SEPTEMBER 2008, THE WORST SINCE THE 1929 GREAT DEPRESSION. LISTEN TO THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. OVER JUST THREE DAYS, MR. PRESIDENT, SEPTEMBER 13th, 14th, AND 15th, THREE MAJOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS FAILED, LAYMAN, A.I.G., AND MERRILL LYNCH. OH, MY GOD. THE SHOCK IN THE COUNTRY. REGULATORS WERE UNPREPARED. THEY HAD NO WARNING. PANIC SPREAD FROM THIS WALL STREET DEBACLE AS BANKS LOST CONFIDENCE IN THE SOLVENCY OF THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND THEY REFUSED TO LEND. CREDIT WAS FROZEN. CONSUMERS START TO WITHDRAW THEIR MONEY FROM FAILING MONEY MARKET FUNDS. AND SOME OF THEM FOUND OUT -- AM I RIGHT ON THIS -- THAT THEY WEREN'T INSURED BY THE MONEY MARKETS. WE HAD TO ACTUALLY CREATE INSURANCE. THE STOCK MARKET DROPPED 25% IN SEPTEMBER ALONE, MR. PRESIDENT. PART OF A LARGER 50% DROP FROM 2008 TO 2009. TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PENSIONS AND SAVINGS WEALTH WERE LOST. WITHOUT THE TOOLS TO HANDLE THE CRISIS, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WAS FORCED TO APPROACH US FOR DIRECT TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE. AND I WILL NEVER FORGET THE DAY WHEN A REPUBLICAN TREASURY SECRETARY, HANK PAULSON, LOOKED ME IN THE EYE AND ALL MY COLLEAGUES AND SAID, CAPITALISM WAS ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE AND I -- AND I WILL TELL YOU, MR. PRESIDENT, I ASKED HIM A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THAT DAY ABOUT THE ROLE THAT CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS PLAYED IN THIS AND DERIVATIVES. AN TO BE TOTALLY CANDID WITH YOU, HE JUST -- HE JUST DIDN'T HAVE AN ANSWER. HE JUST WAS SO CONCERNED ABOUT SAVING OFF THIS -- STAVING OFF THIS COLLAPSE. NOW, IT WAS TOO LATE -- IT WAS TOO LATE TO STOP WALL STREET'S CRISIS FROM IMPACTING OUR -- THE REST OF OUR ECONOMY. BUSINESS LENDING PLUMMETED. NOW, I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW THIS, MR. PRESIDENT. BUSINESSES -- SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE CREATED 64% OF ALL THE NEW JOBS IN THE LAST 15 YEARS. AND WHEN THOSE GOOD, STRONG BUSINESSES COULDN'T GET CREDIT, SOME OF THEM JUST COULDN'T KEEP THE DOORS OPEN. AND I CAN TELL YOU NONE OF THEM EXPANDED. THEY COULDN'T. THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE CAPITAL. RETAIL SPENDING FELL BY 14% DRIVEN BY HISTORIC DECLINES IN CONSUMER CONFIDENCE. AND BECAUSE CONSUMER SPENDING ACCOUNTS FOR 70% OF OUR ECONOMY, THIS WAS ANOTHER DISASTER ON ANOTHER DISASTER ON ANOTHER DISASTER. AS THE RECESSION FUELED BY THE FINANCIAL CRISIS SPREAD, JOB LOSSES EXPLODED TO 750,000 A MONTH. THE HIGHEST EVER RECORDED. SOME 8.4 MILLION JOBS WERE LOST IN 2008 AND 2009. AND IN MY OWN HOME STATE OF CALIFORNIA ALMOST ONE OUT OF EVERY 10 JOBS WAS LOST. ONE OUT OF EVERY 10 JOBS. NOW, TO PUT A HUMAN FACE ON THAT, THINK ABOUT THOSE FAMILIES IN THAT SITUATION. WHERE NOT ONLY DID THEY LOSE A LOT OF THEIR NET WORTH IN THE STOCK MARKET, WHICH WAS GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, BUT THEY WERE LOSING THE VALUE OF THEIR HOME AND THEN THEY LOST THEIR JOB AND IT EXACERBATED THE PROBLEM. UNEMPLOYMENT ROSE ABOVE 10% FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 28 YEARS IN MY -- 28 YEARS. IN MY STATE IT IS OVER 12% TODAY EVEN THOUGH WE'RE NOW CREATING JOBS IN CALIFORNIA AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THEY'RE NOT AT A FASTER -- FAST ENOUGH PACE AS PEOPLE COME INTO THE JOB MARKET. WE HAD A SITUATION WHERE ALMOST ONE OUT OF EVERY FIVE AMERICANS WHO WANTED TO WORK WAS UNDEREMPLOYED. NOW, I DON'T SEE HOW ANYONE WHO KNOWS THIS HISTORY -- AND ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS WAKE UP AND READ THE PAPER. OR IF YOU DIDN'T DO, THAT PUT ON THE TV OR IF YOU DIDN'T DO THAT, LOOK AT YOUR INTERNET OR IF YOU DIDN'T DO THAT, LISTEN TO THE RADIO AND IF YOU WERE REALLY WITHOUT ALL OF THAT, YOU COULD HAVE LISTENED TO WHAT WE WERE DEBATING HERE, WHICH THERE PROBABLY WAS NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE DOING THAT. BUT THE FACT IS, HOW COULD WE EVER FOR ONE SECOND DENY THE NEED FOR THE DODD BILL, WHICH REFLECTS THE PRESIDENT'S WALL STREET REFORM BILL? EVEN FOR A MINUTE. I CAN'T IMAGINE ANYONE LIVING THROUGH THIS CRISIS COULD EVER DOUBT THE NEED TO DO THE BILL THAT WE, THANK GOODNESS, ARE ON RIGHT NOW. THE BILL DIRECTLY ADDRESSES THE PROBLEM THAT LED TO THE CRISIS. IT GIVES REGULATORS THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO PREVENT THE CRISIS IN THE FUTURE WITHOUT EVER TURNING TO TAXPAYERS. NOW I'M GOING TO JUST QUICKLY GO THROUGH THE PROVISIONS OF THE DODD BILL. AND, BY THE WAY, I'M GOING TO GO THROUGH SIX PROVISIONS. FIRST, THE BILL ENDS TAXPAYER BAILOUTS. THE BILL GUARANTEES THAT TAXPAYERS WILL NEVER AGAIN BE FORCED TO BAILOUT WALL STREET FIRMS. FAILING COMPANIES WILL BE LIQUIDATED AND ANY LOSSES WILL BE ABSORBED BY THE COMPANIES IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR, NOT TAXPAYERS. THAT'S IN THE DODD BILL. AND BY THE WAY, WHEN I HEARD MY COLLEAGUES ON THE OTHER SIDE SAY THEY DIDN'T THINK THIS IS TRUE, I WENT UP TO SENATOR DODD AND I TALKED TO THE ADMINISTRATION, I SAID YOU KNOW WHAT? I'M GOING TO OFFER AN AMENDMENT THAT SAYS THIS IN PLAIN ENGLISH. WILL YOU ACCEPT THE AMENDMENT? AND THEY DID. AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THAT AMENDMENT ACCEPTED. SO THAT NO ONE -- IF ANYONE EVER SAYS TO YOU THIS BILL IS ABOUT GIVING MORE TAXPAYER FUNDS TO BAIL OUT WALL STREET, YOU JUST SAY EXCUSE ME, YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE WRONG BILL. SECOND, IT PUTS A COP ON THE BEAT FOR CONSUMERS. THE BILL CREATES THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, WHICH WILL HAVE THE SOLE JOB OF PROTECTING THE AMERICAN CONSUMERS FROM THE KIND OF DECEPTIVE AND ABUSIVE FINANCIAL PRACTICES THAT FUELED THE CRISIS. AND THEY ALSO WILL BE LOOKING OUT FOR CREDIT CARDS AND OTHER KINDS OF THINGS. WE WILL FINALLY HAVE DISCLOSURE IN THESE DARK MARKETS. REMEMBER, I TALKED ABOUT THESE TOXIC ASSETS, THESE ASSETS THAT WERE MADE UP OF SLICES OF MORTGAGES, MANY OF WHICH WERE -- HAD NO VALUE? THEY WERE IN THE DARK. NOW, THESE DARK MARKETS ARE OVER. DERIVATIVES MARKETS WILL BE OPEN, AND THE SHADOW BANKING SYSTEM WILL BE OVER. OVER. NO MORE DARKNESS. TRANSPARENCY, OPENNESS, AND THE REST THAT GOES WITH IT. HERE'S THE REST OF WHAT THE DODD BILL DOES. IT CURBS RISKY BEHAVIOR ON WALL STREET BECAUSE IT SAYS ESSENTIALLY NO MORE GAMBLING. THERE ARE GOING TO BE STRICT NEW CAPITAL AND BORROWING REQUIREMENTS SO THAT YOU CAN'T JUST GO OUT AND SUPERLEVERAGE. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE SOME BALANCE IN YOUR BANK. THERE WILL BE AN EARLY WARNING SYSTEM TO PREVENT A FUTURE CRISIS. A FINANCIAL STABILITY OVERSIGHT COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY LEAD TO A CRISIS. AND AS A LAST RESORT, THE REGULATORS CAN BREAK UP A COMPANY THAT IS TOO BIG TO FAIL. TOO BIG TO FAIL IS OVER. AND IF ANYONE TELLS YOU IT'S NOT OVER, THEY HAVEN'T READ THE BILL BECAUSE THIS BILL COMPLETELY SAYS, CLEARLY SAYS THAT IF A COMPANY IS TOO BIG TO FAIL, THE REGULATORS CAN BREAK IT UP. WE WILL SEE PROTECTION AGAINST SECURITY MARKET SCAMS. THE BILL MANDATES MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTS AND INCREASED FUNDING FOR THE S.E.C. SO THAT A NEW OFFICE IN S.E.C. WILL BE CREATED TO LOOK AT THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES -- REMEMBER, I MENTIONED THAT. THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES WERE JUST GIVING AA, A RATINGS TO JUNK. NO MORE. THEY WILL HAVE SOMEONE LOOKING OVER THEIR SHOULDERS, AND THAT'S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. I WANT TO PUT BACK THE -- THE HEADLINES. SO CLEARLY, THIS BILL DOES WHAT WE NEED TO DO. THE BILL STOPS TAXPAYER BAILOUTS, AND IF EVER THERE WAS A TIME WHEN WE COULD AGREE ON ONE THING, IT WOULD BE THAT. AND AGAIN, TO ELIMINATE ALL DOUBT, I PROPOSE AN AMENDMENT TO SENATOR DODD WHICH HE IS IN AGREEMENT WITH AND THE PRESIDENT'S PEOPLE ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT FAILING FIRMS CANNOT BE BAILED OUT. AND IT'S JUST VERY, VERY CLEAR BECAUSE IT SAYS IT IN THIS AMENDMENT. CANNOT KEEP A COMPANY ALIVE, CANNOT KEEP IT ON LIFE SUPPORT, CANNOT STOP IT FROM FAILING, AND WHEN IT'S LIQUIDATED, THE COST OF THAT LIQUIDATION WILL BE PAID FOR BY WALL STREET FIRMS. NOW, I'M EXCITED ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE'RE FINALLY MOVING TO THIS BILL. BY THE WAY, THE LAST SENTENCE IN THE BOXER AMENDMENT, IT'S VERY SHORT. IT'S ON THIS PAGE. TAXPAYERS SHALL BEAR NO LOSSES FROM THE EXERCISE OF ANY AUTHORITY UNDER THIS TITLE. SO IF ANYONE SAYS TO YOU THAT THIS BILL ISN'T CLEAR, I -- I JUST HAVE TO SAY THEY'RE MAKING IT UP BECAUSE IT'S VERY, VERY CLEAR. SENATOR DODD WOULD NEVER HAVE ACCEPTED THIS AMENDMENT IF IT WASN'T IN CONCERT WITH THE BILL. NOW, AGAIN, I KNOW THAT MANY COLLEAGUES HAVE IDEAS FOR CHANGING THE BILL. THAT'S WHY WE'RE HERE. MY REPUBLICAN FRIENDS DECIDED NOT TO MAKE ANY AMENDMENTS IN THE COMMITTEE SO THIS IS THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO, AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING THEIR IDEAS. I REALLY -- I SAY THAT WITH SINCERITY. A LOT OF REPUBLICAN AMENDMENTS WERE INCLUDED IN THE HEALTH CARE BILL, AND THAT'S GOOD. WE WANT TO SEE SOME OF THEIR IDEAS TO STRENGTHEN THIS BILL, BECAUSE AS SENATOR DODD HAS SAID MANY TIMES, NO SENATOR HAS A CORNER ON ALL WISDOM. WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER. WE CAN GET OUR BEST IDEAS BY WORKING TOGETHER. AND I'M GOING TO WORK WITH ANYONE ON EITHER SIDE OF THE AISLE WHO HAS THE GOAL OF PROTECTING AMERICAN TAXPAYERS AND HAS THE GOAL OF PROTECTING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY FROM A FUTURE CRISIS. I'M GOING TO BE VOTING FOR A COUPLE OF COLLEAGUES' AMENDMENTS TO REALLY STRENGTHEN THIS BILL, AND I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT. BUT LET'S NOT OPPOSE THIS BILL ON THE GROUNDS THAT TO DO NOTHING IS BETTER BECAUSE CLEARLY TO DO NOTHING LEADS -- WOULD LEAD US RIGHT BACK TO THIS ROAD OF GETTING UP IN THE MORNING AND SHAKING IN OUR BOOTS ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH UNEMPLOYMENT WITH THE LOSS OF OUR PENSION FUNDS. IT'S REALLY EXTRAORDINARY TO GO BACK JUST TO 2007. IT'S NOT THAT LONG AGO WHEN THIS ALL STARTED. AND WE HAVE TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO NEVER HAVING IT HAPPEN AGAIN. SO THE TIME IS NOW FOR WALL STREET REFORM. I AM VERY PLEASED THAT THERE IS A CHANGE OF HEART ON THE OTHER SIDE. I CANNOT TELL YOU. I HAD -- I WAS READY TO SPEND THE EVENING HERE AND I'M REALLY HAPPY THAT I CAN ACTUALLY GO HOME TO MY FAMILY TONIGHT AND -- AS MUCH AS I ENJOY MY COLLEAGUES' COMPANY, I THINK I WOULD PREFER TO BE WITH MY FAMILY, WITH MY GRANDKIDS, MY HUSBAND IS HERE VISITING, AND NOT HAVE TO SPEND THE NIGHT HERE. BUT I WAS PREPARED. I WOULD BE PREPARED TO SPEND THE WEEKEND, TO SPEND WHATEVER IT TAKES HERE BECAUSE ONCE IN A WHILE AN OPPORTUNITY LIKE THIS FOR REFORM COMES ALONG. IT CAME ALONG WITH HEALTH CARE. IT'S COMING ALONG NOW. WE ARE IN AN ERA OF REFORM, AND WE HAVE TO JUST KEEP DOING IT. I'LL TELL YOU THE REAP. IT'S ALL EXPRESSED RIGHT HERE. WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IF WE KEEP THIS GOING THE WAY IT'S GOING. DEREGULATION ON STEROIDS DIDN'T WORK. WE NEED SENSIBLE REGULATIONS, SENSIBLE RULES OF THE ROAD. WE WANT EVERYONE TO PROSPER, BUT WE DON'T WANT TO SEE GAMBLING LEAD TO THE PAIN AND SUFFERING THAT IS STILL GOING ON THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY. SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT. I YIELD THE FLOOR AND I NOTE -- AND RATHER THAN NOTE THE ABSENCE OF A QUORUM, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT ON TOMORROW, FOLLOWING THE RECOGNITION OF SENATOR LINCOLN, SENATOR CHAMBLISS BE RECOGNIZED FOR UP TO 20 MINUTES.

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  • 07:22:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:22:47 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE…

    PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 359, H.R. 5146, AN ACT TO PROHIBIT A COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN 2011, AN ACT THAT IS IDENTICAL TO S. 3244, WHICH PASSED THE SENATE ON APRIL 22. THAT THE BILL BE READ THREE TIMES, PASSED, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID UPON THE TABLE WITH ANY STATEMENTS RELATING TO THE BILL APPEARING AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE IN THE RECORD AS IF READ.

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  • 07:23:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION, SO ORDERED.

  • 07:23:19 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE…

    UNANIMOUS CONSENT, MR. PRESIDENT, THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 5147 RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE AND AT THE DESK.

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  • 07:23:27 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:23:31 PM

    THE CLERK

    TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO EXTEND THE FUNDING AND…

    TO AMEND THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986 TO EXTEND THE FUNDING AND EXPENDITURE AUTHORITY OF THE AIRPORT AND AIRWAY TRUST FUND, AND SO FORTH AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

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  • 07:23:44 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:23:51 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    MR. LEADER, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT -- OR MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS…

    MR. LEADER, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT -- OR MR. PRESIDENT, I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE BILL BE READ THREE TIMES, PASSED, AND THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE LAID ON THE TABLE AND ANY STATEMENTS APPEAR AT THIS POINT IN THE RECORD AS IF READ, WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION.

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  • 07:24:05 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:24:08 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO CONSIDERATION OF S.…

    I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT THAT THE SENATE NOW PROCEED TO CONSIDERATION OF S. RES. 504 WHICH WAS SUBMITTED EARLIER TODAY.

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  • 07:24:15 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    THE CLERK WILL REPORT.

  • 07:24:18 PM

    THE CLERK

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:24:30 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    IS THERE OBJECTION TO PROCEEDING TO THE MEASURE? WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:24:37 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:24:43 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:24:47 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:25:13 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: WITHOUT OBJECTION.

  • 07:25:16 PM

    MRS. BOXER

    IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT…

    IF THERE IS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THE SENATE, I ASK THAT IT ADJOURN UNDER THE PREVIOUS ORDER.

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  • 07:25:21 PM

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER

    OFFICER: THE SENATE WILL STAND ADJOURNED UNTIL APRIL 29,

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115th Congress - Senate
Total Hours: 2039 (After 659 days)
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Source: Resume of Congressional Activity (senate.gov)