POSTED: 9:50 p.m. HST, Jun 30, 2010
Hawaii’s two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Charles Djou and Mazie Hirono, split their votes on a major financial reform bill that gained passage Wednesday.
The measure, which is more than 2,000 pages long, would rewrite the nation’s regulatory books from Wall Street to Main Street.
The House roll call was 237-192, with most Democrats supporting it and all but three Republicans in opposition.
Djou, a Republican, won a May 22 special election to fill the seat formerly held by Democrat Neil Abercrombie, who is running for governor.
In a statement, Djou said the measure failed to address the financial meltdown’s root causes, intrusively expands the reach of government and raises taxes on banks that will pass those costs on to consumers.
The legislation also left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac untouched, despite what Djou called the central role they played in the meltdown. The quasi-independent agencies buy and sell a majority of the nation’s home mortgages.
“Put simply, this bill does more yet accomplishes nothing — it spends more, it taxes more, and it sets the stage for more Wall Street bailouts,” he added. He noted his support for parts of the measure, such as provisions requiring more transparency in the credit ratings industry.
Democrats pounced on his vote.
“Djou’s outrageous refusal to hold Big Banks accountable or put a stop to the era of taxpayer funded bailouts is another reminder that Djou’s agenda is to put Wall Street and Big Business before hardworking middle class families,” Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
Djou faces a tough race in November against his likely Democratic foe, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who said through a spokesman that she would have supported the bill.
Hirono said the legislation would require credit card and mortgage companies to use easy-to-understand forms, and will strengthen oversight and impose new regulations to prevent future bailouts of large financial firms.
“We need to make sure that our largest banks don’t make reckless decisions that threaten our economy and enrich special interests at the expense of American families and businesses,” she said in a statement.
“This bill will put our citizens in much stronger positions when it comes to buying a home, using their credit cards, and mapping out their long-term financial future,” she added.
The Senate isn’t expected to vote on the bill for at least two weeks.