On May 20, 2010, after three weeks of floor debate, five cloture votes, and nearly a year of development, the "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010" passed the Senate by a vote of 59-39. Three Republicans (Sens. Collins, Grassley and Snowe) voted with all but one present Democrat (Sen. Feingold) to pass the bill and move the center of the debate on to conference.
As of this writing, the Senate has appointed conferees but the House has not. The conference is expected to begin in earnest the week of June 8th, and House and Senate Democratic Leadership have set as a goal delivering the bill to the President’s desk by the July 4th recess.
The goal appears achievable as, while many differences distinguish the Senate- and House-passed bills, they are structurally similar and, particularly for a bill of this length, there are a limited number of differences that will divide those members who are likely to vote for the conference report.
The attached memorandum provides a comprehensive summary of all the provisions of the bill as passed by the Senate. The memo tracks the titles of the Senate bill while discussing issues by topic within each title. To facilitate further analysis, each paragraph includes section and page number references to relevant provisions of both the Senate-passed bill and, where applicable, their counterparts in H.R. 4173, the "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009," as passed by the House of Representatives on December 11, 2009.
The Senate Bill is the latest in a series of financial reform legislative efforts that began on June 17, 2009, when the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a white paper titled "Financial Regulatory Reform – A New Foundation: Rebuilding Financial Supervision and Regulation." That paper discussed forthcoming Obama Administration ("Administration") financial reform proposals based on its belief that inadequate and inconsistent regulation of the largest financial firms contributed significantly to the financial crisis that struck both the United States and the global economy beginning in early 2007. The Administration subsequently proposed a series of bills to reform the financial system.
The House Financial Services Committee acted next, beginning with a proposal that used the Administration proposals as its starting point. As marked-up in that Committee and subsequently passed by the House as H.R. 4173 in December 2009, this legislation became different from the Administration’s original proposal in significant ways. In addition, in November 2009, Chairman Christopher Dodd of the Senate Banking Committee released a bill that took different approaches from both the Administration proposal and H.R. 4173.
On March 15, 2010, Chairman Dodd released a revised version of his reform legislation. Modified at mark-up a week later by only a Managers Amendment, it was adopted on a party-line vote by the Senate Banking Committee and, as reported, became S. 3217.
Weeks of negotiations on the bill failed to produce a bipartisan substitute or a path forward. Hence, S. 3217 was brought to the Senate floor on April 15, 2010. After a series of failed cloture votes, the Senate began consideration of the bill on April 29, 2010. Despite widespread opposition from Republicans and a broad spectrum of business interests, the bill passed the Senate three weeks later.
Gibson Dunn’s Memorandum is attached at the following link:
A Summary of S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, as Passed by the U.S. Senate on May 20, 2010