LEWISTON — U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, both Maine Democrats, voted in favor of a massive financial overhaul package that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday afternoon.

“Part of the reason I voted against the Wall Street bailout last year was because it contained no reforms to our financial system,” Michaud said in a prepared statement.

“This bill, although it comes a bit late, is a substantial step in the right direction,” he said. “It will end bailouts by helping ensure taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s risky behavior and bad bets. At the same time, it will protect consumers from predatory lending abuses, fine print and industry gimmicks.”

Pingree said the bill is an important step forward for consumer regulation and consumer protection in financial industries.

“We get used to the (Food and Drug Administration) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission that make sure our toys are safe and our food is OK to eat, but there’s never been anything that looks out for the consumer when it comes to credit cards or mortgages or financial regulation,” she said in an interview.

The bill also addresses the oft-mentioned “credit-default swaps” and “derivatives,” which were both poorly understood and traded with no financial stability backing them up, Pingree said.

“A lot of that is at the root of our financial crises and I think we’ve finally gotten at some of that,” she said.

The U.S. Senate is expected to take up similar legislation sometime next year.

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