In the House of Representatives, we started out with an okay bill and then it got watered-down as it made its way through committee and onto the floor. In the Senate, everyone assumed we’d start with a weaker bill and then see even more watering-down. But astoundingly that hasn’t happened. Instead the bill has tended to get stronger-and-stronger through amendment. As an example, here’s a good one from Jeff Merkley and Amy Klobuchar:
Today, an amendment put forth by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to the Wall Street reform bill passed the Senate by a vote of 63-36. The amendment will protect homeowners by prohibiting mortgage lenders and loan originators from receiving hidden payments when they steer homeowners into high-cost loans and will create strong underwriting standards to ensure borrowers have the ability to repay their loans.
This is not the essence of the crisis, but it’s a bad practice and well-worth banning.
It’s been pointed out to me by one of the hard-working men and women of the US House of Representatives that while the amendment process made the House bill weaker in some ways, it got tougher in other respects—notably around resolution of failed institutions.