Economy

House Passes Financial Overhaul Legislation

The House of Representatives has passed an enormous and complicated bill changing certain financial regulations and creating a new federal agency. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 - Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009 passed 223 to 202. No Republicans voted for it.

It's described as the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulation since the New Deal. Along with creating the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, the bill would track government auditors who are chasing swindlers like Bernard Madoff and it sets out ways to clarify trading in derivatives, financial instruments that aren't well understood but helped drive last year's financial meltdown.

Supporters say the bill will help protect the country against the kind of excesses that contributed greatly to the financial crisis.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, which is not expected to take it up until next year. It would give Congress more authority to regulate the Federal Reserve, a move opposed by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

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