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When financial reform negotiations broke down a couple weeks ago, Sen. Bob Corker [R, TN] (pictured at right) was the one to stand up and say that a bipartisan bill was still possible. Last week, when the Republicans refused to participate in the mark-up of the bill, Corker called it "a very large strategic mistake," adding that financial reform "is an issue that almost every American wants to see passed." But today he announced that he "absolutely cannot support" the bil.

Senate Democrats, as we know, need to pick off at least one Republican, in addition to holding their own party together, to overcome an inevitable Republican filibuster. They have basically three options -- find a Republican other than Corker who may be willing to vote for the bill, negotiate down some of the provisions to a point that Republicans can support it, or call the Republicans' bluff and just bring the bill to a vote.

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WWGSD

March 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Mike Konczal of the excellent Rorty Bomb blog is a former Wall Street financial engineer. He took a look at the recently unveiled Dodd financial reform bill through the galsses of his Wall Street experience to see what Goldman Sachs might be thinking.

I actually read this bill as if I was a Goldman Sachs lobbyist, looking for all the sections that I hated and made a list of what items I needed to lobby hard on to kill or modify.

My final verdict, by the time I got to the end? If I was a Goldman lobbyist, I’d probably shrug and go “eh, pass it.”

 

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Not to be Missed

March 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Sen. Ted Kaufman [D, DE] gave a widely lauded floor speech last week calling for strong financial reform legislation and an end to "too big the fail." Now that C-SPAN has put their entire archive online, I can post it here:

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Dodd Throws Volcker a Bone

March 15, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Obama-proposed Volcker Rule, which is designed to prohibit banks from engaging in high-risk speculation that has no societal benefit, was supposed to be "dead on arrival" in the Senate. Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd [D, CT], who is retiring and hopes to pass financial reform as a last boost to his legacy, saw the proposal as a poorly-timed addition to the legislation that could threaten its support from conservative, pro-Wall Street lawmakers.

But from the summary of the bill released today by Dodd, it appears to be included ...just in a watered-down, toothless iteration:

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Financial Reform Bill Will Exempt Payday Loans

March 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Some of the most absurd lending and borrowing happens in the payday loan industry. According to the Center for Responsible Lending (.pdf), the average payday loan borrower pays $800 for each $325 they borrow. That's an absolutely absurd interest rate, but according to the New York Times, the senators who are designing financial reform legislation are going to include a special carve-out so the industry can keep on dealing in these abusive loans:

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Dodd to Push for Quasi-Independent CFPA

February 9, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's [D, CT] latest version of financial reform legislation includes a partially independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Financial reform advocates seem to think it's good enough. HuffPo has the details.

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Congress Links -- SCOTUS And More Edition

January 21, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Today was a busy day in the Washington, D.C. with subjects such as health care to the Supreme Court grabbing headlines. Here's a look at some worthwhile articles and blog posts you might have missed: As Donny Shaw pointed out earlier, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] says she does not have enough votes in the House to pass the Senate health care bill. It wouldn't be surprising to see conservative and moderate House Democrats abandon the bill, but liberals too? Speaking for a dozen Ho...

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House Dems take on Wall Street Bonuses

January 19, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Drawing upon the growing populist anger at Wall Street, two House Democrats have introduced dueling bills that seek to heavily tax over-sized bank bonuses.

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Should Federal Regulations be a Floor or a Ceiling?

December 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House today is expected to vote on and pass the Democrats' comprehensive financial regulations overhaul bill (H.R. 4173). But before they do, they'll likely approve an amendment from the pro-business New Democrats Coalition to pre-empt tougher state laws. Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration have been fighting against this for months.

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Saying Thank You

April 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I've been writing a bit about Rep. Luis Gutiérrez's [D, IL-4] bill that would put what amounts to a generous 391 percent cap on payday loan interest rates and the pawn shop industry's campaign against it. Mike Lillis of the Washington Independent has the campaign finance perspective: Of the 21 individuals who donated more than $21,000 to the Illinois Democrat in the first quarter of this year, 15 represent the pawnshop industry, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commi...

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Congress Going Easy on Payday Loan Dealers

April 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

In light of our current debt-fueled economic crisis, Congress is looking at reforming one of the most predatory forms of lending -- payday loans. But according to a range of consumer, community and civil rights groups the leading bill in Congress to deal with the issue, the Payday Loan Reform Act of 2009, would actually protect the "predatory payday loan business model and will stall or stop the significant progress that has been made at the state level to curb usurious lending."

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