My constituents want Washington to work for us, not the special interests like Wall Street banks.
That's why I stood up for Main Street banks, small businesses and working families in my home state by proposing the toughest reforms for Wall Street of anyone in either party, including the administration.
One of my reform proposals would make the $600 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market fully transparent where today it is completely in the dark, with no regulation, no oversight and no public disclosure.
Early this morning, the Senate-House Conference Committee on Financial Regulation passed landmark legislation that included the most important provisions of my original proposal.
When I first unveiled my plan in mid-April, it was dismissed by many as a political stunt that would never see the light of day. Well, I've been underestimated before. What matters to me, and to the retirees, small businesses and local bankers that I represent, is that we expose risky trading by the big Wall Street banks to the light of day.
Now my colleagues in the Senate and the House need to know that you stand behind this reform. I have launched a petition and I hope you'll add your voice to the growing chorus of Americans who support strong financial reform.
When my committee, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, adopted my bill with bipartisan support, the big banks sent hundreds of lobbyists to Capitol Hill. Most of them promised it wouldn't be included in the overall Senate Financial Reform bill.
When Senate reform became the Dodd-Lincoln Substitute with my derivatives provision intact, there were numerous articles predicting that my provision did not have enough support to defeat amendments to strip it from the bill. However, it's most significant threat failed with only 39 votes.
When the Senate passed comprehensive financial reform with my provision unchanged, the headlines predicted that it would be removed in the conference committee of Senate and House members.
This morning, the conference committee ended an all-night session by adopting historic financial reform that offers unprecedented protections for consumers and includes the bulk of my provision. The riskiest trading practices by Wall Street banks that nearly blew up the world economy will have to be moved to an affiliate within two years.
While we are changing the way Wall Street does business, the real story is how reform will benefit Main Street by helping families save for college, protect retirees, ensure that small businesses can get loans and most importantly create new jobs.
We are not over the finish line. You may still hear opponents using the same tired claims and worn out, catch-all defenses of "unintended consequences" or "driving business overseas" in an attempt to stop our reform efforts.
But with momentum on our side, the strong reform that America's small businesses, community banks, and families need is within our grasp. It's time we proved the naysayers wrong once again and pass historic financial reform.
I hope you add your name to the petition today so that my colleagues in Washington know you want to change the financial system so families have the protections they deserve.
Follow Blanche Lincoln on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SensibleRegs