House Bill Authorizes $4 Trillion for Next Bailout, but Tells Congress to Shut Up

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Legislation intended to reform Wall Street and protect consumers is currently waddling along in the House of Representatives, moving as best a 1,200-page document can. Bloomberg columnist David Reilly decided to read all of HR 4173 (the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”) and found plenty of “gristle” among its provisions that could make any taxpayer ill.

 
For instance, the bill authorizes the Federal Reserve to provide up to $4 trillion in emergency funding if the financial sector collapses again. Representing more than twice as much that the federal government spent on the current crisis, the money would not be released unless “there is at least a 99% likelihood that all funds and interest will be paid back.”
 
Also, the legislation does not address the issue of institutions that have become “too big to fail,” although it does reference the issue of forbidding bonuses for Wall Street leaders.
 
“Best of all,” writes Reilly, “the bill contains a provision that, in the event of another government request for emergency aid to prop up the financial system, debate in Congress be limited to just 10 hours. Anything that can get Congress to shut up can’t be all bad.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 

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