Senate Sends Financial Reform Legislation to President Obama

Today, the Senate voted 60-39 to give final congressional approval to a sweeping financial industry reform bill that will overhaul the regulatory structure for consumer and investment banking. The legislation is intended to curtail the reckless Wall Street practices that drove the economy to a near collapse in 2008 and upended the lives of millions of Americans.

The civil and human rights, consumer and labor advocates have been fighting for months to ensure that Congress approved a bill to establish the strongest possible regulations to protect Americans from abusive and discriminatory lending practices.  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called the final bill, which was finalized three weeks ago, “a historic achievement.”

A critical component of the legislation for the civil and human rights community will create a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with broad regulatory powers to protect consumers from predatory lending practices. The bureau will include a civil rights office focused exclusively on fighting discriminatory lending.  The bill also requires all financial regulatory agencies to create Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion to ensure diversity in matters like staffing and contracting.

The bill attracted widespread support from Americans angry with Wall Street’s conduct who turned out at rally after rally over the past few months, urging Congress to act swiftly and decisively to pass a strong bill.

The bill, which passed the House two weeks ago, will now go to the White House. President Obama considers the bill one of his highest legislative priorities and is certain to sign it into law.

“We commend those House and Senate members who stepped up to protect consumers, hold the Big Banks accountable, and provide a rational framework for our economy to grow in a more equitable way,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in a statement released today.  “The civil and human rights coalition strongly supports this legislation, and we look forward to the seeing President Obama sign it into law.”