WASHINGTON – President Obama signed landmark legislation today that tightens Wall Street rules and establishes a new consumer financial protection bureau to help protect borrowers from abusive lending practices.Coming nearly two years after the bank bailouts of 2008, it is the Democrats’ centerpiece response, intended to prevent another credit and mortgage crisis like the one that caused the stock market meltdown and current economic recession.
"These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history," Obama said, just before he signed the bill. "There will be no more tax-funded bailouts. Period."
The legislation establishes an array of new rules that will allow the government to play a stronger watchdog role over financial markets and the practices of individual banks, and gives it greater power to intervene when a bank is on the verge of collapse.
The legislation has a mouthful of a name: the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, named for Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Obama, Dodd, and Frank were joined today at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington by nearly 400 people who the White House says were instrumental in passing the legislation, including consumer advocates, business leaders, and state and local officials.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley was among the dignitaries; Coakley last month won a $102 million settlement with Morgan Stanley & Co., for the financial firm’s participation in subprime lending practices, money that she said will benefit 1,000 Massachusetts homeowners in foreclosure.
Here is a list of key participants at today’s signing ceremony, as released this morning by the White House:
Vice President Biden
Secretary Timothy Geithner
Chairman Chris Dodd, D-CT
Chairman Barney Frank, D-MA
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA
Senator Harry Reid, D-NV
Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-AR
Representative Collin Peterson, D-MN
Representative Steny Hoyer, D-MD
Representative Paul Kanjorski, D-PA
Representative Maxine Waters, D-CA
Representative Mel Watt, D-NC
Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-IL
Representative Gregory Meeks, D-NY
Representative Dennis Moore, D-KS
Senator Tim Johnson, D-SD
Senator Jack Reed, D-RI
*Below is a representative list.
Secretary Gary Locke
Robert Bowser, Mayor of East Orange, NJ
Martha Coakley, Attorney General of Massachusetts
Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois
Tom Miller, Attorney General of Iowa
Pam Banks, Consumers Union
Alan Blinder, Princeton
Heather Booth, Americans for Financial Reform
Bill Brodsky, Chicago Board Options Exchange
Michael Calhoun, Center for Responsible Lending
Archibald Cox, Barclays America
Joe Dear, CalPERS/Council of Institutional Investors
Bob Diamond, Barclays PLC
Camden Fine, ICBA
Gerald Hassell, Bank of New York Mellon
Nancy Leamond, AARP
Heather McGhee, Demos
Ed Mierzwinski, US PIRG
Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza
Vikram Pandit, Citi
Travis Plunkett, Consumer Fed. America
Lauren Saunders, National Consumer Law Center
Paul Volcker, Chair of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board
Elizabeth Warren, TARP/Harvard Law
Ann Yerger, Council of Institutional Investors
Nancy Zirkin, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.