Sen. Dodd to Unveil Financial Regulatory Reform Next Week

By and | March 11, 2010

Senator Christopher Dodd said Thursday that he will present on Monday his own version of a financial reform bill after compromise talks with Senate Republicans broke down.

Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said he will present the bill on Monday and plans for the full committee to debate the legislation the week of March 22.

“Together we have made significant progress and resolved many of the items, but a few outstanding issues remain,” Dodd said in a statement.

Dodd, who is not running for re-election and wants to craft a sweeping rewrite of financial rules before leaving office, was locked for weeks in intense negotiations with Republican Bob Corker in hopes of reaching a bipartisan deal.

Corker, a junior senator from Tennessee, broke with party ranks to revive bipartisan talks after Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the committee, failed to reach an agreement with Dodd.

Dodd’s recent talks with Corker broke down, however, over the level of independence for a consumer watchdog for financial products and other issues such as enhanced shareholder rights, industry sources said.

It is unclear whether the Senate has enough votes to pass a sweeping financial regulation reform bill without some Republican support.

Dodd said that his goal is still to produce a “consensus package” but it is unclear if any Republicans will sign on.

“We have reached a point where bringing the bill to the full committee is the best course of action to achieve that end,” he said. “Our talks will continue, and it is still our hope to come to agreement on a strong bill all of the Senate can be proud to support very soon.”


Almost a year and a half since the peak of a financial crisis that tipped the U.S. economy into a deep recession, U.S. financial regulation has changed little.

The House approved a bill in December that called for the most sweeping regulatory reform since the 1930s, but the Senate has yet to act.

A set of draft reform proposals unveiled by Dodd in November was immediately rejected by Republicans, and Dodd’s initial proposal has steadily been watered down.

Last week Dodd took to the Senate floor to outline his priorities for financial reform, which is one of the Obama administration’s top domestic policy initiatives.

The Senate bill’s top goal, Dodd said, will be ending “too-big-to-fail bailouts” like the 2008 taxpayer-backed interventions to prop up financial giants such as American International Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc.

With a political backlash from those rescues looming as an issue in congressional elections in November, Dodd said the Senate bill would also create a new, more orderly process for dismantling troubled firms that avoids future bailouts.

He listed regulation of the $450 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market, including credit default swaps, as another primary objective, which he has said must be included in the bill.

In a sign that at least one section of a draft bill that he unveiled in November could fall out of the final Senate measure, Dodd said more work remains to be done on proposals to rein in “crazy” financial industry compensation packages.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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