Bunning calls financial reform bill toothless

05/20/2010 11:51 PM

Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning criticized the finance industry regulation bill that the Senate passed Thursday saying it failed to address the root causes of the systemic meltdown that thrust the nation into a recession nearly two years ago.

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning

“This so-called financial reform bill has no teeth,” Bunning said in a statement issued Thursday night. “The bill doesn’t even address some of the most glaring problems that caused the financial crisis, most notably Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the flawed monetary policies of the Federal Reserve.”

The Federal Reserve has been a frequent target of Bunning’s ire. A member of the both the Senate finance and banking committees, Bunning has consistently criticized the Fed’s policies and has described it as an enabler to the financial institutions that helped put the economy into a tailspin.

The financial regulation bill the Senate passed Thursday by a 20-vote margin. Among other things it creates a new level of oversight — a council that includes the Federal Reserve chairman — to look for potential systemic problems. And it establishes a new way for regulators to keep watch on hedge funds.

While some Republicans simply blasted the bill for being what they called an unnecessary expansion of government, Bunning’s arguments against it were more specific.

“Worst of all, while the primary goal of this bill should be to end bailouts and the idea of too big to fail, it does just the opposite,” he said. “It makes too big to fail a permanent feature of our financial system. That is unacceptable.”

The bill, which passed 59-39, still must be meshed with a different version passed earlier by the House.

- Ryan Alessi


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