Today, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding his vote in favor of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

“It is clear that our financial system is in dire need of reform. The serious abuses that have come to light in the last few years are of great concern and we must change how Wall Street does business. Today, Congress passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - a strong step forward in reforming our financial regulatory systems.

“The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act provides significant protections for the American consumer and gives federal regulators the tools they need to reign in the irresponsible actions by Wall Street that did so much damage to our economy. The legislation establishes a new independent watchdog with the authority to ensure American consumers are offered safe, non-predatory products when they shop for mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and other financial products.

“The bill reforms the mortgage lending industry by eliminating many of the abusive practices that helped lead to the recent massive spike in foreclosures. Additionally, for the first time this legislation also limits some of the riskiest activities of banks and regulates the multitrillion-dollar market of over-the-counter derivatives. These are key reforms.

“Assessing the impact of institutions on our financial markets as a whole is a crucial piece of the needed reforms.  This legislation creates a council of regulators to watch for systemic risks, authorizes regulators to impose restrictions on large, troubled financial companies and creates a process for the government to liquidate failing companies and banks at no cost to taxpayers.

“The irresponsible behavior in our financial markets inflicted serious pain on the American people, costing millions their jobs, incomes, savings, investments and homes. This is unacceptable and the system must be reformed. It is vitally important that we have a strong financial system which can spur economic growth, jobs and American ingenuity. It is also equally important that we ensure transparency and accountability within that system to prevent the abuses that severely damaged our financial system and brought our economy to its knees. The legislation passed by Congress today is a strong step forward toward achieving these goals. “