The House of Representatives has voted on a bill that contains provisions for far-reaching financial regulations and creates a consumer protection agency.
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 passed along party lines 223-202, and in addition to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency it will also vastly expand government powers over the financial system, including the right to break up companies that become too big and to regulate complex derivatives, which some say contributed to last year’s financial crisis.
Media reports suggest that among some of its key provisions is the requirement for big Wall Street institutions to pay $150 billion into an emergency fund that will be tapped into when a troubled company needs to be rescued.
Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine has praised the vote, saying "[the act] will make our system more stable, while reining in the irresponsible practices that nearly led to the collapse of the global financial system."
He also took aim at the GOP which refused to back the bill, accusing the party of siding with their financial industry "friends" against the interests of the American people.
Meanwhile, opponents of the legislation have said it will hurt small businesses and stifle innovation, and is yet another example of big government. .
"This house has been on a spending spree, a bailout spree and a regulatory spree that I could never have imagined in any of my prior 18 years here in Congress," complained House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill early next year.