Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced a bill Wednesday to reverse the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act's dismantling of the wall separating banking from the securities and insurance industries.
Under their Banking Integrity Act of 2009, commercial banks would be prohibited from affiliating with investment banks and vice versa.
The bill would also ban commercial banks from engaging in any insurance activity. The legislation would force banks to divest their commercial or investment banking operations within one year of enactment.
"America can't afford another financial crisis," said Cantwell in a press release.
"With big banks using depositor money to gamble on Wall Street, it's only a matter of time … . We must return stability, security and confidence to commercial banking for the American public. The first step is this bill."
McCain said the bill would help ensure we "never stick the American taxpayer with another $700 billion — or even larger — tab to bail out the financial industry."
"This country would be better served if we limit the activities of these financial institutions," McCain said.
The bill is an attempt to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which first erected the wall between commercial banking and the securities and insurance industries.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 repealed the Depression-era law.
McCain was advised during his failed presidential bid last year by one of the principal architects of the 1999 law, former Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas.