Menendez On Senate Passing Wall Street Reform: Bill Will Bring Accountability

Menendez On Senate Passing Wall Street Reform: Bill Will Bring Accountability

Bill contains a number of provisions championed by Menendez (LIST INCLUDED)

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Banking Committee, today voted in favor of Wall Street accountability legislation as it passed the Senate by a 59-39 vote. All but 3 Republicans voted against the legislation. The legislation will set new rules for financial activity on Wall Street to rein in irresponsible behavior in order to prevent another financial meltdown, such as the one that caused the recent recession.

"The families who have spent the past few years worried about their jobs, homes and savings have told us they want accountability on Wall Street, and accountability is what we are bringing," said Menendez. "Americans who work for a living want the security of knowing that when they trust a bank with their money or home, it won't be recklessly gambled away. They want a free market, not a free-for-all market. The bill we have passed tonight will implement a set of commonsense rules for Wall Street to live by - rules that were badly needed during the free-for-all years before the collapse. I am proud of having worked to include a number of provisions in this bill which cut down on risky bank activities and protect families. I look forward to a strong final bill emerging from the conference committee and to making it law in the near future."

Provisions in the Senate bill that Menendez requested during Banking Committee work:

• Company disclosure of CEO-to-average worker pay ratio: requires publicly-listed companies to disclose in their annual SEC filing the amount of CEO pay, the amount of the median company worker pay, and the ratio of the two.

• Off-sheet balance activity (relates to the type of accounting gimmicks Lehman Brothers used): requires regulators to take all off-balance sheet activities into account when calculating capital and other requirements.

• Municipal bond ratings (helps local governments finance job-creating projects): requires credit rating agencies to use a universal standard for corporate and municipal bonds, lowering financing costs for towns by billions.

• Expanding financial education: Creates a permanent Financial Education and Counseling Program that makes grants available to community groups to provide financial education.

• Avoiding systemic risk: requires financial regulatory agencies to produce regular reports on how they are using capital and liquidity standards to avoid the systemic risk that nearly brought down the financial system.

• Whistleblower protections: Expand protections for whistleblowers against employer retaliation at subsidiaries and affiliates of companies.

• Prohibiting brokers from voting client shares for CEO compensation votes: prohibits brokers from voting uninstructed client shares in votes on "say on pay" and other decisions.

• FDIC remains regulator for community banks

• Stock exchange rules published in the Federal Register: greater disclosure of rules to the public