The House of Representatives passed the financial regulation reform bill Thursday by a vote of 237 to 192, but the $19 billion fee on banks and other financial institutions to which Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., was so opposed was removed before that vote, according to Investment News.
Unfortunately for Senate Democrats, that move alone did not convince Brown to pledge his support for the legislation. In a June 30 statement, he said:
I appreciate the conference committee revisiting the Wall Street reform bill and removing the $19 billion tax. Over the July recess, I will continue to review this important bill. I remain committed to putting in place safeguards to prevent another financial meltdown, ensure that consumers are protected and that this bill is paid for without new taxes.
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill when Congress reconvenes after a weeklong July 4 break, but Brown's indecision and the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has left the Democrats two short of the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster from Republicans.
Meanwhile, some in the industry are lamenting that a fiduciary duty section from the House version of the bill made it into the final version. According to Investment News:
The bill empowers the Securities and Exchange Commission to impose the same fiduciary duty on broker-dealers and insurance agents currently met by investment advisers.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who lobbied to include the section, said:
We gave the SEC the power to do it, and they're going to do it.
If SEC Chair Mary Schapiro's previous statements on the matter are any indication, Frank is probably right.