Senate Passes Regulatory Reform Bill After Intense Debate

May 21, 2010 Bookmark and Share

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation reforming the financial regulatory system after significant, heated debate about how much change is needed to avoid systemic problems the country has experienced in the past two years. The bill now heads to conference between the House and Senate, where leaders hope to wrap up discussions “in short order.”

The Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 is ostensibly designed to improve accountability and transparency in the financial system and to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) said in a release Thursday that passage of the bill “is a significant step to bringing real reform to our nation’s financial markets, giving the American people the transparency and accountability they deserve.”

NAWG has been working along with a number of agriculture and lending organizations to ensure that those using derivatives to manage business risks, including the farm credit system and others, would be able to continue doing so without added costs.

Specifically, NAWG joined a number of other commodity groups and financial institutions Wednesday in expressing support for Senate Amendment 3903, authored by Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). The technical amendment would clarify provisions in the bill that were intended to exempt Farmer Mac farm and rural electric cooperative loan programs from the bill’s risk retention requirements.

The letter, which is available in full at, said in part:

“This clarifying amendment reinforces the intent of the underlying legislation, ensuring uninterrupted delivery of fixed rate farm loans to farmers and ranchers through Farmer Mac programs…Without passage of the amendment, there will be fewer fixed rate loan options available to farmers at a higher cost.”

Though not adopted in the Senate-passed bill, NAWG will continue working to ensure that these technical changes are made as the bill moves through the conference process.

Next on the agenda for the Senate is consideration of a $59 billion supplemental spending bill, H.R. 4899. That legislation would fund ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide relief for Haiti following a devastating earthquake there and address a number of domestic priorities.

The House is gearing up to take advantage of the week leading up to Memorial Day recess by considering a compromise package of tax cuts and benefit extensions which reportedly will include a retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax credit that expired at the beginning of the year and monies for ad hoc agriculture disaster payments.