Now, the Senate is debating Wall Street reform, a bill similar to the one passed after debate in the House.  Every single Republican in the United States Senate voted three times to try to block reform from going forward. One leading Republican Senator even said, “We need to be in a room… nailing down the language.”  In other words, we will only agree to move forward after we make some backroom deals, out of the eye of the American public.  The irony, of course, is that this is exactly what Republicans wrongly accused Democrats of doing during the health care debate.

The time for shady campaign fundraising and backroom deals needs to end.  After Republicans huddled with lobbyists and Wall Street banks, they realized they should honor the will of the American people and respond to taxpayer concerns in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.  They can no longer ignore American families who worked hard and played by the rules, only to see their home foreclosed on, their retirement savings lost, their businesses destroyed, or their jobs wiped out.  This legislation caps over a year’s worth of common sense reforms and stronger consumer protections to ensure that a crisis on this order of magnitude never happens again. Let us resolve to enhance transparency, return cash to the taxpayer and return the watchdog to the day-to-day operations.

Getting the American people back to work is my top priority.  Working with President Obama, our response to the economic crisis that we inherited was the most comprehensive, aggressive response to an economic crisis in American history.  Recently, Congress passed and the President signed the HIRE Act, which included tax credits to businesses to hire new workers, to reduce taxes on small businesses, and to make important infrastructure investments to create jobs.  Going forward, we will continue to pursue proposals to increase lending to small businesses so they can grow and hire workers, help families make energy investments in their homes, and provide assistance to state and local governments.

We are a long way from fully recovering and enabling every person who requires a job to return to work.  However, we are making positive strides forward.  Let us not forget that Wall Street reform lies at the heart of this economic downturn.  It is time we streamline government and put a cop on the beat of Wall Street to protect American families and businesses.  Absent this cop, Wall Street will regulate itself, as it did under the previous administration.  The American economy cannot afford to live through that real-life tragedy again, and neither can her families.  It is time we quit the drama of petty politics and enact meaningful Wall Street reform – our families and small businesses have paid a painful price and are counting on us to act.