Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators voted for the financial regulation reform bill that cleared the senate last night.
Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says the bill is a step in the right direction. Senator Chuck Grassley was one of just four Republicans who voted with Democrats to pass the bill. Grassley says the bill has flaws, but it sends an important message to Wall Street that business-as-usual is unacceptable.
Roxanne Conlin, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate who hopes to challenge Grassley in the fall, says the bill is a “good first step” to ensure Wall Street doesn’t “drive us off a cliff” again.
“I’m certainly happy that Senator Grassley voted ‘yes’ on the bill rather than voting against the bill,” Conlin says, “particularly since he’s one of the people who voted to give $700 billion to the Wall Street bankers who drove us off the cliff, with no strings attached.”
Conlin is accusing Grassley of trying to have it both ways because earlier this week Grassley was part of a coalition that blocked a final vote on the bill. “He voted five times against moving forward on the bill and I was feeling very discouraged,” Conlin says. “I asked my supporters to get in touch with his office. I know that many of them did and I’m very glad that he did respond.”
Grassley issued a statement last night, praising components of the bill which he says provide new protections to “average Americans.” According to Grassley, “big banks and financial institutions took advantage” of Americans in the run-up to the stock market melt-down, and “the system let them get away with it.” Grassley says he’d like more regulation and transparency in federally-run financial institutions like The Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Senator Harkin also argues the bill doesn’t go far enough in policing the private sector, but Harkin says the bill helps restore “some balance” in the financial services industry.
Conlin is competing against Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen for the Democratic Party’s 2010 U.S. Senate nomination.