By a vote of 237-192, the House of Representatives this afternoon voted to pass final legislation dramatically changing the rules that govern the financial industry. Nineteen Democrats joined 173 Republicans in opposing the legislation, which, in addition to limiting the risky practices that lead to the 2008 collapse, will create a new federal agency dedicated to protecting consumers from predatory financial products, and bring to a close the Troubled Asset Relief Plan — the bailout program created by the Congress in the midst of the financial crisis. Three Republicans voted for the bill, and four members (two Democrats, two Republicans) did not vote.
The Senate is set to take up identical legislation shortly after they return from next week’s Independence Day recess. Democrats had hoped to send the Wall Street reform bill to President Obama by weeks end, but last minute hiccups in the Senate — objections of key Republicans and the death of Robert Byrd — ultimately made that impossible.There’s still a nightmare scenario for Democrats: An unforeseen reneging by one of the three Republicans who helped shape the final compromise on the legislation could leave them a vote shy. And at this point, they have few if any means of changing the legislation.
But the Democratic authors of the legislation — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd — have both implied that the deal is done.
Frank told reporters last night that the House would not proceed to the bill, as they did today, unless they’d received the proper assurances from the Senate that the legislation would certainly pass.
We’ll see if he’s right in two weeks.