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Financial reform Republicans could support

Monday, April 12, 2010; A16

Contrary to recent claims made by Democratic Party leaders and in the April 7 editorial "Say no to no," Republicans continue to be strong advocates for financial regulatory reform and were, in fact, the first to introduce comprehensive legislation. We also believe that to do right by consumers who were unfairly affected by the crisis, Congress needs to focus less on creating bureaucracies and more on stopping the bailouts and removing taxpayers as the backstop to failures on Wall Street.

Serious reform requires addressing the problem areas that got us here in the first place. Unfortunately, the Democrats' financial regulatory legislation in the House and Senate falls far short. Instead of real reform, the Democrats' proposals would write into law the ad hoc government response to the economic crisis that put taxpayers on the hook for bailouts, rewarded Wall Street's failures and froze capital needed to create jobs. Remember the bailout of American International Group? This bill would make AIG-style bailouts permanent. The government would decide which politically connected creditors of failed non-banks to bail out, and details would be hidden from the public. That is not the change we need.

Republicans say "yes" to real reform that addresses the root causes of the crisis and brings an end to government policies that have too often rewarded failure and punished prudence. We've put forward substantial legislation that ends the bailouts and makes Wall Street responsible for its actions. The real question is: How long will the Democrats continue to ignore it?

Spencer Bachus, Washington

The writer, a representative from Alabama, is the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee.

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