Westbrook, MAINE — Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin today voted in favor of a bill that would roll back rules intended to protect Maine families by preventing Wall Street and big banks from driving the country into another financial crisis.
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett issued the following statement in response:
“During the financial crisis, families across Maine fell victim to the irresponsible practices of Wall Street, losing their jobs, their savings, and their homes. Congressman Poliquin had pledged to be a champion for these families, but today he put them at risk all over again by voting to weaken the very safeguards put in place to prevent big banks from repeating their same mistakes.
“Democrats support common-sense reforms to ensure that community banks and credit unions across Maine aren’t being punished for the sins of Wall Street, but this bill isn’t that – this bill is nothing more than a windfall for the same bad actors that hurt Maine people to begin with.
“Congressman Poliquin may like to claim that he stands up for Maine families, but with this vote, it’s clear that their interests matter less to him than those of Wall Street.”
Today, Congressman Poliquin voted in support of HR 4296, a bill that would weaken requirements for big banks put into place following the financial crisis.
Following the Great Recession, Congress passed legislation meant to reduce the risk of large financial institutions pushing the country into financial crisis again. One of those reforms required large, systemically important financial institutions – of which there are about two dozen – to conduct a “look back” at past experiences, along with past conduct and past products, during their capital requirement assessments – the logic being that factoring in a bank's past behavior and experiences is clearly relevant to risk.
A capital requirement is the amount of capital a bank or other financial institution has to hold and was put into place to ensure that these institutions do not take on excess leverage and become insolvent.
The bill supported by Congressman Poliquin today, however, would roll back those protections by changing the rule to only include current bank activities and not past conduct. According to economists, increasing capital requirement – the opposite of what this bill does – can help prevent another financial crisis.
In case you had forgotten, Congressman Poliquin accepted more than a million dollars in donations from the very financial institutions he just voted to roll back rules on, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.