I have been reading your thoughts on the Brown Brigade and wanted to address some of your concerns and explain to you my decision to support this legislation. Over the July recess, I once again reviewed the legislation in its entirety to ensure that nothing else had been slipped into the bill that would prevent me from supporting it. After finishing reading it, I decided that while the bill was far from perfect, it was vastly improved from the version we started with at the beginning of this process. In my opinion, it includes important measures that will help prevent another meltdown like the one in 2008 that left millions of Americans out of work and saw our economy take its worst dip since the Great Depression.
While reasonable people can disagree about the details, the vast majority of Americans believe we need to take steps to prevent future taxpayer-funded bailouts of the banks. We had a choice: do nothing, or try to address a real problem that shook the financial foundation of our country.
This bill is not funded through higher taxes, which, as you know, is a non-starter with me anytime, particularly now when nearly one in ten Americans is unemployed and our economy is still struggling. During the conference committee negotiations, a $19 billion tax increase was slipped into the 2,300 page legislation in the dead of night. This was simply unacceptable to me, and I could not support the bill until this tax was removed.
Other helpful provisions in the legislation include:
• An audit of the Federal Reserve to examine the emergency lending that took place during the heart of the financial crisis;
• New requirements that take steps toward ending the "too big to fail" mentality among banks;
• Helps end bailouts so American taxpayers never again have to be on the hook;
• Measures that prevent banks from acting like casinos by eliminating loopholes that allowed risky and abusive practices to go on unnoticed and unregulated;
• Strengthens enforcement of existing laws to stop Bernie Madoff type fraud by Wall Street executives so that American families and businesses are protected;
• Lowers interchange fees for Main Street businesses so they can continue being economic engines in their communities and protect consumers who feel the impact of these increased fees, as much of the cost is often passed onto them.
I agree that we still need to significantly change the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do business, as both played a large part in the financial meltdown and must be addressed in the future. I will continue to push to determine what role these entities had on the financial meltdown and ensure they are held accountable.
As I said when I first came to Washington, I remain committed to reviewing each and every piece of legislation that comes before me and make sure it's good for my state, doesn't raise taxes and helps our economy. As I have done during my short time in office, I will continue to approach each bill in an open-minded manner and review it on its merits rather than its political supporters. At times, you may disagree with my final decisions, but know that each vote I cast is taken after very serious consideration and review of the issue and is with the very best interests of the citizens of Massachusetts and the country first and foremost.