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September 15, 2014

House Republican Leadership Push Major Wall Street Deregulation Bill on 6th Anniversary of Lehman Collapse

Washington, D.C., September 15, 2014 – Adding insult to America’s economic injury, the Republican House Leadership, as early as this evening, could hand a gift to Wall Street by voting on yet another deregulation bill on the 6th Anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, said Better Markets.

Today’s vote will likely include several controversial deregulatory provisions to an unrelated insurance capital bill, including provisions designed to weaken the Volcker Rule that prohibits gambling at the biggest banks.  The provision would give carve-outs from important regulations around the controversial swaps market, which are meant to provide relief to non-financial firms but may actually provide loopholes through which Wall Street can evade the rules and continue much of the most risky behavior central to the crash of 2008.

“Six years ago today, Lehman Brothers, the 4th largest Wall Street investment bank, collapsed into bankruptcy, igniting the worst financial crash since 1929 and the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  While Wall Street got bailouts and bonuses, America’s families are still paying the bill for the crash in lost savings, lost jobs, lost homes and the ongoing gnawing economic insecurity across the country, as Robert Samuelson illustrated in today’s Washington Post,” said Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets.

“Most of that was caused by deregulation of the financial industry and the failure of elected officials and regulators to police Wall Street.  As a result, too much of Wall Street became little more than a gambling casino, with the gigantic too-big-to-fail firms leading the way to historic bonuses and American taxpayers forced to bail them out for their losses.  Today’s surprise, no-advance-notice announcement by the House Republican leadership of a vote on their latest Wall Street deregulation bill shows they haven’t learned much in six years,” Mr. Kelleher said.

“While much of the bill is just repackaged provisions of prior bills, and is supposedly intended as a ‘message’ bill, that doesn’t make it any better.  As importantly, what is the message?  Deregulation of Wall Street is more important than all the other pressing issues facing America’s families and communities?  Wall Street is entitled to jump to the head of the line and get the attention of our nation’s elected officials?  And, don’t be misled by the labeling and spin.  This isn’t a jobs bill.  It won’t help all those Americans looking for jobs or full time work.  When Americans are struggling and looking for hope, the House Republican leadership decides Wall Street comes first and delivers a deregulation bill that will only give hope to Wall Street and its lobbyists,” said Mr. Kelleher.

“Financial reform, passed in 2010, was designed to protect American taxpayers, the financial system and the entire economy from Wall Street’s high risk, reckless trading and investments from causing more crashes and bailouts.  Wall Street, its lobbyists, lawyers and political allies just won’t stop trying to kill, gut or weaken those protections, which threaten their bonuses.  That attack continues today with this deregulation bill, which is an insult to all those still suffering from the economic wreckage Wall Street inflicted on the country beginning six years ago today,” Mr. Kelleher concluded.

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Better Markets is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets. Better Markets advocates for transparency, oversight and accountability with the goal of a stronger, safer financial system that is less prone to crisis and failure thereby eliminating or minimizing the need for more taxpayer funded bailouts. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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