Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dodd pitches lawmakers on finance reform

Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd pitched lawmakers Monday to support a bill aimed at overhauling America's complex web of financial regulation.

Combining Obama administration and Republican priorities, the leading Senate author of a sweeping rewrite of U.S. financial regulations is looking for consensus with a proposal that neither side of the political spectrum is ready to embrace.

"We must restore responsibility and accountability in our financial system to give Americans confidence that there is a system in place that works for and protects them," Dodd said at a news conference on Monday. "We must create a sound foundation to grow the economy and create jobs."

The bill trumpeted by the chairman of the Senate banking committee would expand the powers of the Federal Reserve and create a consumer protection entity with less authority than President Barack Obama initially demanded.

The bill would also restrict the size and interconnections of large financial institutions once deemed "too big to fail," tame previously unregulated shadow markets with new restrictions, and create a dismantling mechanism for failing financial giants without a bailout from taxpayers.

The bill has the ultimate goal of avoiding a repeat of the financial collapse that brought Wall Street and the global economy to its knees 18 months ago.

Dodd stood alone at the news conference announcing the plan's details, emblematic of the uphill battle he faces to get lawmakers on his side.

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