Wall Street Reform - Made in New England

Washington D.C. – Supporters call it an overdue protection for American consumers and the economy. Opponents say it's ill conceived, and gives too much authority to federal bureaucrats. Regardless of your opinion on the latest piece of milestone legislation signed by the president, there's one thing most can agree on - It's largely a product of New England legislators. WAMC's Steve Felano reports

Four, one, seven, three - It's the number attached to the House Resolution signed by president Barack Obama on Wednesday, considered to be the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. financial regulations since the Great Depression.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank oversaw the bill's drafting in the House, and U.S. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut helped get it through the Senate.

The successful passage of the newly signed legislation - the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - is due to support from three New England Republicans.

While just one Democrat voted against the bill - that being Senator Russ Fiengold of Wisconsin - Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted in favor. All other Senate Republicans voted against. The three Republican "yes" votes put the bill over the sixty-vote threshold needed for passage.

One could argue the Dodd-Frank reform legislation is similar in size, scope and significance to the health care reform package approved in March. It makes sweeping changes, and requires some hefty paperwork from federal agencies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Wall Street reform will require 81 studies, 93 reports and 520 rules. A number of new federal entities will also be created.

Now for a point of contrast - Connecticut Representative Chris Murphy says the big difference he sees between health care reform and Wall Street reform is the level of support seen for each effort.

Chris Murphy's neighbor to the north - New York Representative Scott Murphy - says Wall Street Reform is a big win for small businesses.

Mike Elmendorf is New York State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business. He agrees with Scott Murphy's assessment, but says the jury is still out on the final result of Wall Street reform.

It'll take a quite a while for most of the law's provisions to take effect. Regulators will need months to complete studies, and draft rules.

This means the net effect of the law will be determined by financial regulators. However, this is the same group blamed for the financial crisis the Dodd-Frank reform act is meant to address.

Steve Felano, WAMC News