The Senate took a major step closer to final passage of the sweeping financial reform bill Thursday morning with a 60-38 vote to bring the debate to a close and move the bill to a final vote. The legislation aims to tightly rein in Wall Street and prevent a recurrence of conditions that brought large investment banks, such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, to their knees and set off a global credit crisis.

Under the bill that will now likely get voted up or down later on Thursday, federal regulators will gain greater power to take over financial institutions that are on the brink and hand over tighter control to regulators regarding hedge funds and private equity firms.

In addition, the bill would create a consumer protection agency to fight lending abuses, similar to the ones that hooked in consumers into homes they couldn't truly afford.



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