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Dodd-Frank FinReg Bill Passes House

graphic: Terrance Heath/OurFuture.org, Adapted:SEIU International, Tracy O, and harrykeely, via Flickr

The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill passed the House of Representatives Wednesday by the count of 237-192. Three Republicans broke ranks to support the final bill.

Earlier, Democrats beat back a Republican motion to recommit that would have added back Ron Paul’s “Audit the Fed” amendment and also created an “end user” exemption for margin and clearing requirements for their derivatives. That failed in the House by a count of 229-198.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Dodd-Frank the toughest reforms in generations, which is technically true, considering that pretty much nothing tough on Wall Street has passed since the Depression. The bill has several notable provisions and will empower both regulators and consumers, but it does not change the fundamental structure of Wall Street enough, nor will it ensure the end of “too big to fail.” It improves upon the status quo, and is arguably better than what can be expected of a Congress captured by Wall Street. But it should not be overhyped, because it’s really the beginning of a process toward a saner, safer financial system. Chris Bowers has a thorough rundown of the highlights and lowlights of the bill.

Dodd-Frank now moves to the Senate, but will not pass before the Fourth of July recess. Scott Brown in particular has asked for time to form an opinion on the bill. After the recess, a replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd could be available to vote on it as well, which would ease Democratic efforts at passage.

UPDATE: The three Republicans voting yes on the Dodd-Frank bill were Joseph Cao (LA), Mike Castle (DE) and Walter Jones (NC). This is the second bill in a row that Castle, running for Senate in Delaware this year, has broken with his caucus and supported. He co-sponsored the DISCLOSE Act.

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David Dayen

David Dayen