WASHINGTON — Congress sent legislation to President Barack Obama Thursday that imposes sweeping new regulations on Wall Street and creates new protections for millions of consumers.
The Senate's 60-39 vote came nearly two years after a financial crisis knocked the economy to its knees. [See who donates the most to your member of Congress.]
At a whopping 2,300 pages, the legislation is designed to rein in big banks and protect consumers in hopes of averting a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. Its ultimate impact, however, will depend on the government regulators assigned to implement it.
The legislation gives the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy, creates a new agency to guard consumers in their financial transactions and shines a light into shadow financial markets that have escaped the oversight of regulators.
Named after Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, the legislation ends a trend to ease regulations and clamps down on the financial industry in ways unseen since the Great Depression.
Republicans cast the bill as a vast government overreach, and were betting that voters' antipathy toward big government and their worries over jobs would trump their anger at Wall Street in the November elections.