Friday October 26, 2012 | 12:54 PM

WASHINGTON – Maine Sen. Susan Collins is praised in a new book by the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC, for her role in shaping Wall Street reform legislation two years ago.

Sheila Bair, a former chairwoman of the FDIC, credits Collins for sponsoring an amendment to the financial reform bill that she predicted “will stand as one of the crucial reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act.” The amendment required large financial firms to have enough cash or other liquid assets to cushion them in order to avoid future government bailouts of “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street institutions.

Bair was head of the FDIC at the time and worked closely with Collins, a moderate Republican, on the amendment, according to news reports. Bair writes in her new book, "Bull by the Horns," that Collins “stood up to all of the naysayers” – including Wall Street and the Federal Reserve – to defend the amendment.

“The House and Senate conferees both understood that Senator Collins was a “must-have” vote for final passage of the reform bill,” Bair writes. “She played her card masterfully, but not to appease Wall Street bigwigs or fill her campaign coffers with financial industry money; she used the leverage for the public benefit.”

Collins, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown were the only three Republicans to support the bill and provided the votes necessary to avoid a filibuster.

Wall Street continues to fight implementation of some Dodd-Frank reforms, and the act remains controversial in Congress as evidenced by the numerous repeal bills that have been introduced since. Collins is also co-sponsor of a regulatory reform bill that some groups have suggested could weaken independent regulatory agencies, including the FDIC.

 

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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