U.S. Senate passes financial overhaul bill

09:57, May 21, 2010      

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U.S. Senate passed Thursday a sweeping financial regulatory bill with a vote of 59 to 39, marking a milestone of the nation's biggest overhaul of financial regulations since the 1930s.

Under the U.S. legislative procedure, the bill will then go to a House-Senate conference to reconcile differences in the legislation before it can be sent to President Barack Obama for signing into law.

The bill aims to curb Wall Street's high-risk practices blamed for the global economic meltdown in 2008, solve the systemic risk of the "too big to fail" problem among financial firms, and create a consumer protection agency to better protect Americans.

It will also try to ban commercial banks from trading in speculative investments and impose state interest rate caps on credit card issuers, among other changes.

The U.S. House passed its version of financial overhaul in December 2009. The Senate's bill was proposed by Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee earlier this year.

"This is not a zero-sum game where Wall Street loses and Main Street gains," Obama said earlier Thursday after the Senate cleared a key 60-vote hurdle blocking final action.

"Our goal is not to punish the banks," he said. "But to protect the larger economy and the American people from the kind of upheavals that we've seen in the past few years. Today's action was a major step forward in achieving that goal."



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