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United States Senate prepares to pass Bill letting big banks off the hook

LEFT-WING Senator Bernie Sanders has condemned a bid by Republicans and several Democrats to scrap the limited protections put in place to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 bankers’ crash.

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act is expected to be voted on by Senate this week and gain the 60 of 100 votes needed to pass.

It would repeal some of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which has had questionable success but nonetheless has put a stop to some risky practices.

Mr Sanders said today that the banking Bill “is a disaster.”

“The Wall Street crash of 2008 showed the American people how fraudulent many of these large banks are. The last thing we should be doing is deregulating them.”

He questioned why “any member of Congress [would] vote to move us closer to another taxpayer bailout of large financial institutions.”

Mr Sanders pointed to an assessment of the new Bill’s provisions by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which noted that it would “increase the likelihood that a large financial firm with assets of between $100 billion [currently £72bn] and $250bn would fail.”

The Bill would lift the limit over which a failure of a bank or “shadow bank” — insurance companies, hedge funds and so on — from $50bn in assets to $250bn and free such companies from other restrictions and duties.

Research used by the CBO found that just a 1 per cent decrease in a financial firm’s capital-to-assets ratio increased its likelihood of collapse by 60 per cent.

Big banks have long demanded the scrapping of the Dodd-Frank Act so that they can increase their profits through riskier activities.


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