The conference committee worked through the night until 6 a.m. this morning to finalize their financial reform bill and, in particular, its critical language regulating the huge and risky over-the-counter derivatives market. I stayed awake until about 3:00 a.m., following along to the extent possible on C-Span and providing updates on Twitter, but I was asleep before any good info or analysis was really available. Now that we have some day-after reporting on what happened in those delirious early morning hours, after all but a handful of people had turned off C-Span, here's what it looks like went down.Read Full Article
Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] has taken more money from the financial industry recently than 95% of the Senate despite having no official positions of power and not even being a member of the Banking Committee with jurisdiction over financial reform legislation. In May, Sen. Brown gave Democrats the 60th votes they needed to break a Republican filibuster of the financial reform bill. But now as the bill is going through the conference committee, he's using his leverage as a crucial swing vote to fight for carve outs that would benefit the financial companies who have been funding him.Read Full Article
According to reports, Blanche Lincoln's tough provision requiring banks to "spin-off" their derivatives trading operations into separate entities that would not have access to discount Fed money and an FDIC guaranteeis going to be dropped next week by the conference commitee negotiating teh final financial reform bill. But the provision is giving reform advocates a chance to push once again for the almost-as-tough Merkley-Levin "Volcker Rule" amendment, which was blocked by Senate Republicans and bank lobbyists from even getting a vote during the Senate debate.Read Full Article
As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV]has filed for cloture on the financial reform bill, setting up the possibility of a Wednesday vote on ending the debate and forcing an up-or-down vote on passage.
For financial reform advocates, this is mixed news. On the one hand, the bill that Reid is filing cloture on is stronger than what anyone had really expected the Senate to produce. Blanche Lincoln's tough derivatives language is still mostly in tact, strengthening amendments regarding debit fees, ratings agencies and auditing the Fed have been adopted, and every attempt to weaken the bill so far has been beaten back. On the other hand, some of the most important strengthening amendments haven't been voted on yet and may not get voted on if cloture is approved on Wednesday.Read Full Article
The votes have really been rolling in on the financial reform bill in the Senate. So far, there have been 20 roll call votes on the bill -- 4 on ending the initial Republican filibuster of beginning the debate and 16 since on amendments. Of those 16 amendment votes, 9 have been approved and added to the bill. Additionally, six amendments have been adopted without roll calls by voice votes.
Click through to get all the info on the latest amendments adopted and what we can expect to be up for votes next.Read Full Article
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:Read Full Article
It's been almost two months since the House of Representatives passed their bill to overhaul regulations in the financial markets and implement some of the lessons learned from the financial crisis. The Senate, on the other hand, still hasn't taken up the issue. Since November, the Senate Banking Committee has been working to modify a draft version of a financial reform bill that was submitted by Chairman Chris Dodd [D, CT]. The committee has already missed several deadline for completing the bill and forwarding it to the full Senate, and they're now looking at trying to get it done before the President's Day recess, which begins on Feb. 12.Read Full Article