Cantwell Statement on Obama's Plan to Reduce Banks' Excessive Financial Risk-Taking

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement on the release of President Obama’s financial regulatory reform proposal:


“Establishing a stable foundation for commercial banking is critical to getting credit flowing again and re-energizing our economy. I hope now that President Obama has focused on this issue, we will get a strong piece of legislation that’s not watered down. Every consumer and business in America will know the difference.


“With Obama’s announcement today, it is clear that a powerful consensus is emerging in the Senate, House, and now the White House that we can no longer allow unrestricted speculation and profiteering by banks to put the economy and American workers at risk. We need to re-establish the strict divisions between commercial and investment banking that protected the public for generations following the Great Depression. Banks need to be lending to small businesses and homeowners, not fueling risky investment schemes.


“Through deregulation and lax oversight, we have allowed banking institutions that preserved stability on Main Street to combine with businesses that profit from risk-taking on Wall Street. Our economy has taken a drastic and direct hit while Wall Street is raking in record profits. That is why we must make banking regulatory reform a top priority. It’s past time to focus on addressing one of the causes of the economic implosion, get capital flowing to small businesses, and most of all to ensure it does not happen again.


“As I study the details of the president’s proposal, I will be looking for language that establishes the bright line we need between commercial and investment banking. That is what Senator McCain and I are seeking in the Cantwell-McCain Banking Integrity Act that we proposed in December. I will measure the President’s proposal against my priorities, which include prohibiting commercial banks and their employees from affiliating in any manner with investment banks and from engaging in all insurance activities.”