Last week, a bipartisan group of senators were hastily pushing a bill that could significantly weaken efforts to keep Wall Street’s greed from causing another financial crash.

A photograph of the bull statue on the bowling green on Wall Street.Dubbed the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act (S. 3468), the bill would create new ways for Wall Street cronies to obstruct independent agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and require those agencies to add onerous layers of analysis before taking action against corporate recklessness.

In a New York Times article about the bill, Public Citizen’s expert on regulatory policy said, “Those who support preserving the status quo where Wall Street regulates itself will find much to like in this legislation.”

A better name for the bill would be the Independent Agency Regulatory PARALYSIS Act (PDF).

Perhaps the bill’s sponsors — including Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) — presumed the technical nature of the bill’s approach to deregulation would allow it to slip unnoticed through the legislative process.

If that’s what they thought, they were very, very wrong.

After being informed on Monday of this awful bill and its alarming implications, Public Citizen activists across the country picked up their telephones and urged their senators to oppose the bill.

Two days later, news spread quickly that the expected vote on S. 3468 had been delayed at least until mid-November — and possibly indefinitely.

Clearly the senators backing this bill had second thoughts about weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other independent financial regulators (and doing a huge favor for Wall Street lobbyists) so close before an election.

And what if Congress tries again after the elections to use the legislative process to push this and other pieces of legislation that sell out the American public while currying favor with corporate lobbyists?

We’ll be watching. And we’ll be ready to fight again.

Make sure you’re ready to fight too: Sign up to receive email updates from Public Citizen.

Flickr photo by wallyg.

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Comments

  • Chuck Workman

    I take it that Senator “independent Joe” has lost all sense of right and wrong since he escaped the bonds of the Democratic Party. Senators Collins and Warner must not be running for reelection this year or have totally lost their minds. Were they blind to the problems caused by deregulation and limited oversight of the financial markets in the last 12 years. This is the worlds largest market, but it cannot hold up under the abuses that it suffered under the Bush administration.

    Now the Three Musketeer Senators introduce a bill that would hand the keys of the economy back in the hands of the Pirates of Wall Street. Enough!

    Thank you for your oversight and courageous actions supporting the people of the United States and not a few Boardrooms and Congressional pockets.

    Keep up the great work.

    C Workman

    • Katie

      As far as I know, Collins and Lieberman are not running and I think Warner may not be up for re-election for 2 more years – I could be wrong about that. Anyway, when he does run I will not vote for him if he backs this bill. Are memories are not as short-term as the politicians think they are.

  • Paula Martin

    Lieberman and Collins are up front and center in setting up the Post Office for privatization. I wonder what else these two along with other members of congress are up to.

    HR2309 proposed by Representative Darrell Issa may be heard in the House this September.

    Issa claims he is striving to save the USPS yet he is ignoring expenses that can be deleted without disrupting the service.
    #1. The Postal Accountable and Enhancement Act needs to be rescinded. In 2006 the PAEA signed by Bush, mandated that the USPS fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10. As the USPS was solvent before the PAEA (HR6407) was passed it stands to reason that the USPS would once again become solvent if this law was rescinded.
    #2. Overpayments of 50 to 75 Billion the USPS made to the Civil Service Retirement Service should be returned.
    #3. Overpayments the USPS made to FERS need to be retrieved.
    #4.The USPS needs to charge more for delivering UPS parcels to places UPS don’t.
    #5. Adjust the ratio of managers to workers .
    #6 Quit giving deep discounts to large businesses. . .Issa’s solution is to cut the workforce by at least 100,000, and make Postal Workers’ wages and benefits depend on a separate board when a contract isn’t agreed upon. This is a case where Issa’s cure would cause the death of the USPS as a public service and have it revived as a business with lower paid workers, higher rates and less service. .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09ybkkiH2Ho
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am4wez1ShPY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsPIY9bFFZY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-chx0j3_8IU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRcBoDSfisg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDJNamOGSe
    S1789, sponsored by Lieberman, passed in the Senate, but not in the House,would cut 100,000 jobs with the USPS when we don’t need to have more unemployed workers. S1789 would decrease compensation for injured workers and end it for those over 65, when we don’t need to take away compensation or lower compensation for injured workers. It would weaken the unions which promote a “living wage” at a time when we don’t need to add more people to the “working poor”, S1789 would close smaller post offices (some have already closed), and slow mail delivery by closing 200+ distribution centers.
    In 2006 Congress voted to have the USPS fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10 amounting to 5.5 Billion a year.
    Saddled with funding 5.5 Billion a year that had nothing to do with mail delivery, the USPS could no longer have it’s revenue =costs as it had done until 2006.
    If this bill is passed or HR2309 the USPS will end up virtually privatized with lower wages and benefits for its ’workers, a scaled down and overworked workforce, more mail services contracted out, less services for the public including curbside service in place of home delivery.
    This is how the Post Office could end up privatized if HR2309 were passed.
    Management is replaced if they cannot successfully restructure Postal Service finances when the Postal Service fails to pay its bills for more than 30 days, a receivership-style authority takes over for USPS management with an explicit mandate to cut costs while maintaining universal service.

  • Paula Martin

    HR2309 proposed by Representative Darrell Issa may be heard in the House this September.

    Issa claims he is striving to save the USPS yet he is ignoring expenses that can be deleted without disrupting the service.
    #1. The Postal Accountable and Enhancement Act needs to be rescinded. In 2006 the PAEA signed by Bush, mandated that the USPS fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10. As the USPS was solvent before the PAEA (HR6407) was passed it stands to reason that the USPS would once again become solvent if this law was rescinded.
    #2. Overpayments of 50 to 75 Billion the USPS made to the Civil Service Retirement Service should be returned.
    #3. Overpayments the USPS made to FERS need to be retrieved.
    #4.The USPS needs to charge more for delivering UPS parcels to places UPS don’t.
    #5. Adjust the ratio of managers to workers .
    #6 Quit giving deep discounts to large businesses. . .Issa’s solution is to cut the workforce by at least 100,000, and make Postal Workers’ wages and benefits depend on a separate board when a contract isn’t agreed upon. This is a case where Issa’s cure would cause the death of the USPS as a public service and have it revived as a business with lower paid workers, higher rates and less service. .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09ybkkiH2Ho
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am4wez1ShPY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsPIY9bFFZY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-chx0j3_8IU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRcBoDSfisg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDJNamOGSe
    S1789, sponsored by Lieberman, passed in the Senate, but not in the House,would cut 100,000 jobs with the USPS when we don’t need to have more unemployed workers. S1789 would decrease compensation for injured workers and end it for those over 65, when we don’t need to take away compensation or lower compensation for injured workers. It would weaken the unions which promote a “living wage” at a time when we don’t need to add more people to the “working poor”, S1789 would close smaller post offices (some have already closed), and slow mail delivery by closing 200+ distribution centers.
    In 2006 Congress voted to have the USPS fund 75 years of retiree health benefits in 10 amounting to 5.5 Billion a year.
    Saddled with funding 5.5 Billion a year that had nothing to do with mail delivery, the USPS could no longer have it’s revenue =costs as it had done until 2006.
    If this bill is passed or HR2309 the USPS will end up virtually privatized with lower wages and benefits for its ’workers, a scaled down and overworked workforce, more mail services contracted out, less services for the public including curbside service in place of home delivery.
    This is how the Post Office could end up privatized if HR2309 were passed.
    Management is replaced if they cannot successfully restructure Postal Service finances when the Postal Service fails to pay its bills for more than 30 days, a receivership-style authority takes over for USPS management with an explicit mandate to cut costs while maintaining universal service.

  • Frank Svatek

    The nation as a whole tends to regard our senator from Maine Susan Collins as a “moderate” republican who is willing to “buck the system”. DON’T BE FOOLED. During the Bush years she never voted against her party for anything. It’s best to keep a very tight vigilance on ALL our elected officials. Learn what they do, ignore what they say!

  • Chris Meredith

    Following the 1929 crash, 1933′s Glass–Steagall Act prohibited banks from gambling with out money. Until Wall Street’s GOP (thanks, Phil Gramm) supporters finally repealed Glass–Steagall, the USA saw the biggest expansion of the middle class in history. We need Glass–Steagall, or even a stronger version, brought back! There is NO way that Wall Street will regulate itself. It’s time to stop this madness.

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