News Releases

WALL STREET REFORM: After Republicans Relent and Allow Bill to Move Forward, Murray Calls on Senate to Put People Before Wall Street

Apr 28 2010

Murray tells the story of Washington residents hurt by recession in speech as the Senate moves to consider Wall Street Reform after three day delay

See more on Reforming Wall Street

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered a speech on the Senate floor on the importance of moving forward with a strong bill to reform Wall Street and protect Washington families. Murray’s speech came moments after Republicans agreed to move forward with consideration of a bill that Democrats brought to the floor after three days of procedural delay.

The full text of Senator Murray’s speech follows:

Mr. President, after three votes - and three full days of pressuring those on the other side of the aisle to allow us to at least begin debating this critical bill, finally, it appears that they have relented.

Finally, it appears that they are willing to listen to not only what Democrats have been saying about the importance of strong new reforms for Wall Street – but what the American people have been saying.

And what we’ve been saying is that it is time to hold Wall Street accountable. That it’s time to pass strong reforms that can’t be ignored or side stepped. That it’s time to end bailouts and give Wall Street the responsibility of cleaning up their own mess.

It’s time that credit card statements are in plain English and loan terms are spelled out. It’s time for Wall Street to come out of the shadows and out into the light of day. 

It’s time for negotiations to come out of the backroom and on to the Senate floor. It’s time to put an end to obstruction and begin working for American families.

And Mr. President, for most American families this debate isn’t complex, it’s simple. It’s not about derivatives and credit default swaps. It’s about fundamental fairness.

It’s a debate about when they walk into a bank to sign up for a mortgage, or apply for a credit card, or start a retirement plan. Are the rules on their side, or are they with the big banks on Wall Street?

And for far too long the financial rules of the road have not favored the American people. Instead, they’ve favored big banks, credit card companies, and Wall Street.

And for far too long they’ve abused those rules. Whether it was gambling with the money in our pension funds, making bets they could never cover, or peddling mortgages to people they knew could never pay. Wall Street made expensive choices that came at the expense of working families.

And that’s exactly the reason why we have all fought so hard to move forward with a strong bill.

It’s why we have refused to back down or sit by while it is watered down. It’s why we were ready to stay up all night or vote to move forward with this bill all week. It’s why we have insisted on a bill that includes the strongest protections for consumers ever enacted, an end to taxpayer bailouts, and tools to give individuals the resources they need to make smart financial decisions.

Because, Mr. President each of us knows what the “anything goes” rules on Wall Street have meant for our states and our constituents. Each of us have talked to the people who have been hurt through no fault of their own. We have all seen the cost of Wall Street’s excesses.

Mr. President, in my home state of Washington its cost over 150,000 jobs. It’s cost small businesses the access to credit they need to grow and hire. It’s cost workers the retirement accounts they were counting on to carry them through their golden years.

And students the college saving that would help launch their careers. It’s cost homeowners the value of their most important asset as neighborhoods have been decimated by foreclosures. It’s cost our schoolteachers, our police officers, and our communities.

Its cost young people like David Corrado of Seattle - whose mother since he was very young would take $400 out of her paycheck and put it towards David’s education fund.

It was a long-term, smart investment that would pay off for David’s future. Unfortunately, when the financial crisis occurred, he lost nearly 1/3 of his college fund, or $10,000. 

It’s also cost older people like Edward Diaz, also from my home state, who was not only laid off from his job of 21 years due to the recession, but also lost $100,000 from his 401K. On the verge of retirement, Edward now scours the classifieds every day searching for anyway to get back to work.

Mr. President, in the weeks ahead as we debate this bill, these are the people that we all have to keep in mind as we work to protect against this ever happening again. The people who through no fault of their own paid the price for the risks and irresponsible behavior on Wall Street.

The people who in my home state and across the country scrimped and saved - who made the right decisions, but who were still left holding the bag.

Mr. President, now is not the time for half measures. The American people are looking to us now for real reforms.

We have to put progress before politics. And we have to put people before Wall Street.