Friday, February 05, 2010

Banking regulation bill hits impasse in Senate

WASHINGTON -- Efforts to reach bipartisan agreement on regulations to prevent another financial meltdown have reached an impasse in the Senate Banking Committee and Chairman Christopher Dodd said Friday he will move forward with his version of the bill.

Dodd, D-Conn., has been unable to find common ground over consumer protections with Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the committee. Nonetheless, Dodd said he will incorporate provisions into the regulatory bill that were worked out by other bipartisan teams on the panel.

The breakdown in negotiations is a setback for the bill. A priority of the Obama administration, it is intended to address weaknesses in the financial system that led to the crisis that gripped Wall Street in the fall of 2008. The legislation aims to increase consumer protections on loans and credit cards, add restrictions to previously unregulated financial products and find ways to dismantle failing firms without resorting to taxpayer bailouts. The House has already passed its version.

"While I still hope that we will ultimately have a consensus package, it is time to move the process forward," Dodd said. He is expected to introduce his bill the week of Feb. 22.

Dodd needs Republican support to win passage in the Senate. It is unclear at this point whether adding other regulatory measures supported by Republicans will guarantee him GOP votes.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said he and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., have found agreement on how to deal with companies that pose a broad risk to the financial system. He said Dodd assured him that their work will be reflected in legislation that Dodd proposes.

No comments: