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By Sarah Foster
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
July 16, 2010

WASHINGTON – With help from three Republican senators who crossed the aisle, the Democrat-controlled Senate Thursday handed President Obama what could be regarded as his greatest victory to date -- approving the 2,315-page financial regulatory bill two weeks after the House had passed the measure.

Titled the Frank-Dodd Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection act, after Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, the Democratic committee chairmen who authored the bill, it’s intended to usher in the stiffest regulatory restrictions on the American economy since the Great Depression.

Although the Democrats hold a clear majority in the Senate, they needed a super majority of 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. Sen. Robert Byrd's death two weeks ago left a seat vacant, causing Democrats to scramble about to make sure they had the votes needed for passage.

The problem was solved when Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine, and Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts announced their support for the measure Monday.

Opponents hoped their phone calls might make a difference, and indeed, as late as Wednesday night, Organizing for America – an astroturf group within the Democratic National Committee, sent an email alert to its membership urging phone calls because its passage was uncertain and the bill could fail. posted an UPDATE from Liberty Central urging opponents to redouble phone calling and emailing to their senators.

But despite an outpouring of effort, on Thursday morning the Senate ended the Republican filibuster against the bill by a vote of 60-38, with the Brown-Collins-Snowe trio joining 57 Democrats to invoke cloture and end debate. One Democrat voted against cloture: Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, having said the bill is not sufficiently strong.

With Republican opposition quashed, the Senate voted 60-39 in favor, sending it along to the president for his signature.

The mainstream media hailed the new legislation, as they have from its inception a year ago. As described by Associated Press:

“The law will give the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy, create a new agency to guard consumers in their financial transactions and shine a light into shadow financial markets that escaped the oversight of regulators. … From storefront payday lenders to the biggest banking and investment houses on Wall Street, few players in the financial world are immune to the bill's reach. Consumer and investor transactions, whether simple debit card swipes or the most complex securities trades, face new safeguards or restrictions.

“A powerful council of regulators would be on the lookout for risks across the finance system. Large, failing financial institutions would be liquidated and the costs assessed on their surviving peers. The Federal Reserve is getting new powers while falling under greater congressional scrutiny.”


President Obama is expected to sign the measure this weekend.

“I'm about to sign Wall Street reform into law, to protect consumers and lay the foundation for a stronger and safer financial system, one that is innovative, creative, competitive and far less prone to panic and collapse," Obama said. "Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear."

But while the Democrats cheered, Republicans were quick to condemn the legislation -- indeed House Minority Leader John Boehner was calling for its repeal even before the final vote was cast, according to AP.

Liberty Lost

Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, slammed the Frank-Dodd bill as "one more piece of liberty lost."

“The American people have lost one more piece of their liberty, as the Senate has voted to create a hidden, permanent bailout that will enable faceless bureaucrats to levy taxes, bail out politically-privileged institutions and to seize and liquidate politically-unconnected ones, redistributing their assets to favored constituencies, like unions,” Wilson declared.

“There will be no votes in Congress like TARP ever again, as Congress has abdicated the power to tax and spend elsewhere,” Wilson explained, adding, “Which solves a political problem for members of Congress, but is really just a con game so that they don’t have to take responsibility for unpopular bailouts and government takeovers.” (emphasis added)

In a later piece, Wilson pointed out provisions the mainstream media never noted:

“Included is a hidden, permanent bailout that will enable faceless bureaucrats to levy taxes, bail out privileged institutions, and to seize disfavored ones, redistributing their assets to favored constituencies, like unions.

While the American people, represented by tea parties and concerned citizen activists, want to bring an end to the bailouts, takeovers, and government manipulations of the markets, in Washington, the lunacy only grows.

Call it the Mad Tea Party.

Thanks to Congress, now the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Treasury and Federal Reserve will have the power to tax and spend, seize property and redistribute wealth, monitor individual finances and arbitrarily declare which firms pose “systemic risk,” all without any vote in Congress or the possibility of judicial review. Meanwhile, the legislation does not address one of the root, government causes of the financial crisis.

In short, Congress learned nothing from the housing bubble, which is owed mostly to the errant, misguided social policies to extend home ownership throughout the 1990s and 2000s.”

Speaking of Tea Parties – Will the Tea Party Dump Brown?

Sen. Brown’s turnabout on this and several other issues has not gone unnoticed by those constituents who worked hard to send him to Washington in a special election in January to take the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The Greater Boston Tea Party said it was "greatly disappointed" in Brown's announcement Monday, that he was going to support the Frank-Dodd bill.

“After weeks of debate and a thorough investigation of the bill and its possible effects on the economy, small businesses, community banks and consumers, we are at a loss as to what redeeming qualities Sen. Brown found in the bill worthy of support,” the group declared in a press release.

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“Scott Brown promised in the fall of 2009 to stand up for free markets and constitutional principles,” the group explained. “A yes vote on this bill – a bill that disregards Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, greatly expands executive authority and reach, creates a perpetual and permanent bail-out system and fosters the creation of even more bureaucracy – defies the commitment he made to thousands of activists and donors across the nation who swept him to office in January in one of the biggest political upsets of all time.”

The Greater Boston Tea Party announced that if Brown wants its continued support, “he must consider how legislation he supports upholds” constitutional principles of limited government, free markets and individual liberty.

Earlier Stories:

1 - Sarah Foster: "Financial Takeover" Bill Seems Poised for Passage: July 14, 2010
2 - Sarah Foster: Henry Waxman's Sneak Attack on Dietary Supplements: May 4, 2010
3 - Jonathan Emord: McCain to FDA: Regulate Joe the Plumber: Feb. 15, 2010
4 - Sarah Foster: Michele Bachmann Warns: "Financial Bill Worse than Healthcare Measure": Dec. 16, 2009
5 - Jim Kouri: Obama, Congress Strive to Bankrupt America: Dec. 13, 2009

Resources / Articles

1 - Conference Report: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
2 - Liberty Central Inc: a conservative information/activist 501-c-4 nonprofit organization at Founded and directed by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas. Website is frequently updated, especially during controversial congressional battles. Sign up for email alerts and check often for updates.
3 - S. 3217: Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, introduced April 15 by Chris Dodd, D-Conn., with no sponsors. Passed by the Senate May 20, 59-39 (2 present/not voting)
4 - H.R. 4173: The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, introduced Dec. 2 by Barney Frank, D-Mass., with no co-sponsors. Passed by the House Dec. 11, 223-202 (9 present/not voting)
5 - Robert Romano: Massive Government Overreach in Dodd-Frank Conference: Americans for Limited Government. Romano is senior editor of ALG News Bureau.
Also by ALG: Big Brother is Watching You: The Threat Posed by the Dodd Bill to Privacy, a report on the Office of Financial Research, May 2010, updated June 28 (three pages), and Down a Rabbit Hole: The Threat Posed by the Dodd Bill to the Private Sector, an analysis detailing the bailout and takeover powers. (six pages)
6 - Matthew Vadum: Organizing for America: The Democratic Party's Community Organizing Campaign to Promote Barack Obama: Capital Research Center, May 2010
7 - Elliot: Dodd-Frank: The Lawyers Full Employment Act: Liberty Central, July 15, 2010

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Sarah Foster is a researcher and freelance writer:










The problem was solved when Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine, and Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts announced their support for the measure Monday.