Senate Dems Closer to Wall St. Overhaul as Cantwell Voices Support

By MichaelJames

Jul 1, 2010 8:56pm

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: 

Senate Democrats took a big step towards passing the Wall Street reform bill tonight as Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, announced that she will vote for the measure.

Cantwell had opposed the bill when it first passed the Senate in May, but she now will support the version that emerged from the conference committee.

With Cantwell and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine backing the bill, and Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown re-thinking his opposition after the $19 billion bank tax was removed, the Senate now looks likely to pass the measure shortly after lawmakers return from their Independence Day recess on July 12.

Democrats are also hoping to gain the votes of two other Republicans — Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Olympia Snowe of Maine – who still are reviewing the bill.

Cantwell's opposition to the measure in May stemmed from concerns that it was not tough enough on the murky derivatives markets. But a letter from Commodity Futures Trading Commission boss Gary Gensler assured her that the bill would bring transparency to the markets and implement tough penalties for evading the clearing and exchange trading requirements.

"I will vote in support of the conference report because it makes great strides toward our ultimate goal: bringing all standard derivatives onto exchanges and clearinghouses, with aggregate position limits and strong anti-manipulation tools,” Cantwell said in a paper statement Thursday night. “Since even before the financial crisis of fall 2008, I have been fighting to bring the $600 trillion derivatives market out of the dark, unregulated betting hall where it has existed and into the bright light of transparency and regulation."

"This legislation is not perfect, and I will continue to push for even bolder action – including a return to the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking – to reign in Wall Street, put an end to the concept of ‘too-big-to-fail.’ But this bill makes significant strides toward preventing the kind of financial meltdown that we saw in the fall of 2008," she said.

- Matthew Jaffe

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