By STEVE TETREAULT
Stephens Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — The Senate last week completed and sent to the White House the most far-reaching overhaul of financial industry rules since the Great Depression.
Senators voted 60-39 for final passage of legislation that has been in the works since the scare of 2008, when the government intervened with a $700 billion bailout bill to steady teetering banks and finance houses.
President Barack Obama plans to sign the bill into law.
Among a number of changes, the impending law gives the government new powers to acquire and shut down large financial institutions whose collapse would otherwise ripple through the economy
It also establishes a new federal bureau to shield consumers from abuses in mortgage and credit card lending. Also, it imposes new rules on the trading in derivatives, complex securities that had grown largely unregulated into a $600 trillion market.
The bill was passed by 57 Democrats and three Republican senators. The votes in opposition were cast by Republicans and one Democrat, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.Supporters said the bill would help restore confidence in the financial system. Critics called it another example of a growing and intrusive federal government, saying it would stifle growth and kill jobs.
Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark., voted for the bill.