The Senate Ag Committee conducted a markup session for the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act Wednesday passing it by a vote of 13-8. Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said she cannot overstate the significance of this bill. America's consumers and businesses deserve strong derivatives reform that will ensure that the U.S. financial oversight system promotes and fosters the most honest, open and reliable financial markets in the world.
"As I've said before, financial market oversight reform is the single most important factor in our long-term economic recovery; it will be the foundation for our nation's financial future," Lincoln said. "This is the time for bold change and big decisions about the future of our country and the global financial system."
According to Lincoln this bill will bring 100% transparency to a currently unregulated, dark market. It will lower systemic risk through clearing and exchange trading and real-time price transparency. It will close loopholes and make sure that regulators forever have the authority to go after those entities that would evade the law. And it protects jobs on Main Street by encouraging hedging and risk management by commercial end users.
One of the Senators voting for the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act was Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "I voted for the Chairman's derivatives bill because I think transparency is the right policy," Grassley said. "The draft isn't perfect, and I want to fix the way a provision is written so that whistleblower protections are not weakened as a result."
According to Grassley, one important part of the bill prohibits taxpayer dollars being used to bailout firms that have engaged in risky derivatives deals. But, Grassley says that the larger finance bill has a number of flaws that need to be resolved before he'd support it. He hopes the majority leadership of the Senate allows the kind of debate, negotiation and amendment process needed to make those kinds of changes.