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Dec 2, 2009 10:55 AM by Associated Press

Financial overhaul passes panel

A House panel has approved legislation that slaps new restraints on big Wall Street institutions and demands greater openness from the nation's central bank.

The bill is part of a sweeping regulatory overhaul that the House plans to vote on next week.

The House Financial Services Committee voted 31-27 along party lines for legislation that would give the government the right to dismantle financial firms that pose a risk to the economy, even if they are healthy. The bill would also require a broad congressional audit of the privacy-shrouded Federal Reserve and would assess fees up front on large financial institutions to pay for the failure of their competitors.

The bill will be combined with other financial regulation measures into a comprehensive package to go to the full House next Wednesday.

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