People don't ask too much of their politicians and they don't expect us to have all of the answers--but they do expect us to work on their behalf to strengthen their communities. To me, that means expanding economic opportunity, ensuring all of our children get a quality education, and Alabamians from Mobile to Huntsville have access to affordable healthcare.
Those are just some of the issues that folks on both sides of the aisle can agree on.
As your Senator, I have made a point of working with colleagues who may not always agree with me. And while I'm still new to the Senate, I'm proud of my record of reaching out to find common ground.
I have tried to take that common sense, bipartisan approach in everything I do. And while that may not always be popular with some people even in my own party, I believe it's the right approach for Alabama.
That's why, after much consideration, I decided to cosponsor the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155), a bipartisan bill, years in the making, that will ease burdens for regional and community banks and credit unions these well-intentioned, but overreaching regulations have put into place by the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.
Some politicians and pundits have claimed any regulatory relief will give the big banks a free ride or make it easier for Wall Street to repeat the mistakes of the past. That is just not the case.
This bill maintains the strongest post-crisis rules for Wall Street banks. Instead, the new framework tailors regulations to adjust for the fact that regional banks are smaller and take fewer risks.
The bill also allows community banks and credit unions, who often only have a few dozen employees, to put their resources into new loans rather than regulatory compliance staff. Those loans, in turn, will help our communities prosper. When we can help remove regulatory burdens that should not apply to them, they are hiring in the community and making loans to support small local businesses.
Growing up in Fairfield, my family was part of the U.S. Steel family, which meant we belonged to the Iron and Steel Workers Credit Union. It was founded in 1936 by steel workers in Jefferson County who needed a local bank that could provide them with a place to save their money and give them a foundation to build a better future.
My family had a strong relationship with our local credit union, from which my mother and father took out a mortgage and a loan for the family car. The credit union was critical to my family and so many others who were proud to be part of a growing American middle class. There are dozens more of these small banks and credit unions in Alabama that help families and serve as an anchor for our communities.
These financial institutions do true relationship banking. They serve rural and low-income customers, make small business loans, and even work with local schools on financial literacy programs. Unlike the big Wall Street banks, they are part of the community.
At the end of the day, this will help our Alabama banks focus on what they do best - making loans to Main Street, while letting federal regulators do what they do best - focus their limited resources on Wall Street.
The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act is a blueprint for how Senators can work in a bipartisan manner to achieve results. This law did not come together overnight--it was carefully crafted after years of hearings, discussions, negotiations, and compromises. After our successfully passing a budget last month, this Congress has now passed another significant bipartisan bill that was crafted in a bipartisan way, was debated at length on the Senate floor, and passed with strong support from both sides of the aisle.
No piece of legislation is perfect, but I am proud to be part of a Senate that is getting back to regular order. As a voice for Alabama in the Senate, I will continue to reach out to my colleagues to find common ground and do the job that Alabamians elected me to do.