Eugene, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley addressed the Eugene City Club today to discuss current efforts in the Senate to restore fair rules of the road for Wall Street. Merkley described the factors that caused the financial collapse and subsequent recession, and the reforms needed in order to prevent another financial crisis from happening in the future.
“Real economic strength is built on innovation and hard work, not bubbles and promises of easy money and free lunches,” Merkley said. “And that means we must restore responsibility and accountability to Wall Street and return to the days when banks’ central focus was to help families and businesses on Main Street create new opportunities and grow.”
As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Merkley has been fighting for strong Wall Street reform that accomplishes three primary goals: getting high-risk gambling out of the banks that families and businesses depend on; putting an end to “too big to fail” so taxpayers are never again asked to bail out any financial institution; and creating an independent consumer protection agency to protect consumers from financial tricks and traps that undermine the economic foundation of both families and the wider economy.
In addition, Merkley and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) have introduced the PROP Trading Act which puts a wall between speculative bets by investors and banks that lend to families and businesses. This wall is commonly known as the “Volcker Rule” after the former Federal Reserve chief who has championed such rules.
A Wall Street reform bill was recently voted out of the Senate Banking Committee and is expected to head to the floor for debate in the coming weeks. Merkley voted in committee for the bill, which included a variation on the Volcker Rule, while voicing concerns about some provisions and promising to lead an effort to strengthen it further.