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Skelton explains his vote against bill he says will hurt hometown banks
Skelton explains his vote against bill he says will hurt hometown banks

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2009) — Today, Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) submitted the following statement in the U.S. House of Representatives during debate of H.R. 4173, The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Discussing his vote against the measure, Congressman Skelton stated:

“While the House bill is well-intentioned and I support much of it, the measure falls short in my goal to target Wall Street without disrupting Main Street banks and bank customers.”

On Dec. 11, the House approved the measure by a vote of 223 to 202. Congressman Skelton’s full remarks are set forth below:

_____

Dec. 11, 2009

This week, the House has debated legislation that would put in place the most sweeping financial regulations since the Great Depression. I feel strongly that Congress should enact tough new regulations on Wall Street. Many big banks and financial institutions, in addition to irresponsible mortgage agents and borrowers, in this country helped cause the financial crisis last year. They did not play by the rules and operated with a “get rich quick” mentality that served their own interests but that had little regard for the interests of the American people. Federal regulators must be given greater authority to monitor complex financial products and to ensure American taxpayers are never again on the hook for corporate misdeeds that threaten the nation’s entire economy.

But, as important as these new regulations are to our country, Congress must be careful in writing them. We must focus tough regulations like a laser beam on Wall Street and other bad actors while not wrapping our home town banks into costly and complex sets of new rules. Community banks and credit unions have been playing by the rules for years. They are conservative with their money and did not cause last year’s economic mess. They and their customers ought not pay the price for Wall Street’s misdeeds any more than they, like all Americans, have already been asked to do.

While the House bill is well-intentioned and I support much of it, the measure falls short in my goal to target Wall Street without disrupting Main Street banks and bank customers. In particular, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which is created under the legislation, would create a cumbersome set of new requirements for home town banks. These new rules are not fair to community banks and their small town customers, and the legislation could have been written to exclude them.

As the House and Senate continue debating financial regulatory reform, the interests of community banks and credit unions must be given utmost attention. These financial institutions are the heart of family, small business, and farm lending in rural America and will be key to our nation’s economic recovery. Congress ought not punish them for the misdeeds of Wall Street tycoons and irresponsible mortgage lenders. I look forward to working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to find common ground on this important legislation for America.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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