US lawmakers agree on historic Wall St reforms
US lawmakers on Friday finalised a historic overhaul of financial regulations as dawn broke over Capitol Hill, handing President Barack Obama a major domestic victory on the eve of a global summit devoted to financial reform.
In a marathon session of more than 21 hours, legislators hammered out a rewrite of Wall Street rules that will crimp the industry's profits and saddle it with tougher oversight and tighter restrictions.
The reform must still win final approval from both chambers of Congress before Obama can sign it into law, giving Wall Street one final chance to deploy its army of lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Quick action is expected and it could go to Obama for his signature by July 4.
But the bill has actually gotten tougher in its yearlong journey through the Congress. Democrats rode a wave of public disgust at an industry that awarded itself while much of the country struggled through a deep recession it had caused.
"We worry about big money. I worry about big money having a corrupting influence, but it is reassuring to know that when public opinion gets engaged, it will win," said Democratic Representative Barney Frank, who headed the panel.
The most sweeping rewrite of financial rules since the 1930s aims to avoid a repeat of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, which touched off the recession and led to taxpayer bailouts of floundering financial giants. Financial institutions would have to pay $19 billion to cover its costs.
At the G20 summit, Obama will be able to tout the reform as a blueprint for other countries as they try to coordinate their reform efforts.
Passage of the bill, now widely expected, will also give Democrats an important legislative victory ahead of congressional elections in November.