A key vote is expected shortly in the U.S. Senate on a bill supporters, like Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, say will bring sweeping financial reforms to Wall Street and the rest of the nation’s financial industry. Harkin says it appears there will be enough votes to pass the measure as a few Republicans are signing on, though Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley is not among them.
“It’s a lot better than what we have now,” Harkin says. “It closes a lot of loopholes. It provides a lot of transparency. Do I think it should go further? I do. That’s where Senator Grassley and I may disagree. He probably thinks it goes too far. I don’t think it goes far enough in providing tough regulation, especially on the derivatives market.”
Grassley issued a statement Wednesday, saying the legislation doesn’t go far enough in reigning in Wall Street excesses and Grassley accused Democrats of using an accounting “gimmick” to pay for the costs of the bill. Harkin disagrees.
“I’m sorry he’s voting no,” Harkin says. “I think this is a good bill. It’s good for America. It’s good for transparency so that we get a better idea of how Wall Street is functioning, but he’s entitled to his opinion just like I’m entitled to mine.”
Harkin says the bill is designed to give the federal government new authority to intervene when a large company is teetering on a collapse that could hurt the economy. The bill will also create a new consumer protection agency as a watchdog over the financial industry.
“This is paid for, you know, and it’s paid for by the large banks, not the taxpayers,” Harkin says. “That’s another good thing about this bill, make the big banks pay for it, and not the small banks, not our community banks in Iowa. They’re not going to be held liable.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Grassley said the final version that’s now scheduled for a vote “waters down important reforms” that were in the original Senate package.