Sen. Cantwell Defends Vote to Prolong Debate on Finance Reform

By:  Camden Swita
Source: Seattle Met

Last night, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell cast one of three Democratic hold out votes against bringing the finance-reform bill up for a full floor vote. The Senate cleared it for a floor vote this afternoon, however, without Sen. Cantwell’s vote.

She explained her decision to twice vote against a floor vote in a release on her website today.

She explained that the bill as it stands now fails to close loopholes on unregulated derivatives trading which were “primarily responsible for the severe economic meltdown.” She wants more oversight and transparency in the currently unregulated derivatives market. She said that even small loopholes can grow in the hands of Wall Street investment firms.

“This issue is a fundamental one,” said Cantwell after the vote. ”We won’t have reform if we don’t have exchange trading and clearing, if we don’t bring derivatives onto the same kind of mechanisms we have for other products in the financial markets. And if we don’t have that, then I don’t know what we’re doing out here in the context of what brought us into this crisis.”

The bill would increase capital requirements for banks, allow for Federal Reserve audits of the finance industry and create a new consumer protection agency, among other things.

60 votes were needed to take action on the bill. Last night it failed with a 57-42 vote, with Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada voting against. Today, Cantwell and Feingold persisted in their opposition, but a 60-40 vote closed debate.