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Dodd Set To Release Financial Reform Bill

Chris Dodd (D-CT) will release his financial reform bill next week, according to the Washington Post. Dodd has already released a discussion draft, but presumably this bill will have legislative language and get a vote in the Senate Banking Committee.

This would include the systemic risk council floated yesterday, with the Treasury Secretary in the lead. Apparently that was Richard Shelby’s idea:

Under a proposal from Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), the Treasury secretary would head a council of regulators charged with monitoring systemic risk across the financial spectrum. It remains unresolved how much power that council would wield. But granting a Cabinet member a measure of regulatory authority would mark a significant departure from the current system, in which independent supervisors are granted autonomy and do not serve at the pleasure of the president.

Lawmakers and government officials have agreed that Washington should be working to identify risky activities that could threaten the entire system — a job no single regulator had during the lead-up to the financial crisis. There has not yet been broad agreement on how to structure such an entity.

During negotiations with Dodd this year, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the banking committee, suggested having the Treasury secretary lead the council. Shelby viewed that structure as preferable, in part because the Treasury secretary has a higher international profile than most regulators. He also views the Treasury secretary as more accountable to Congress.

Despite Shelby’s clear influence over Dodd’s final product, he doesn’t like the draft in other ways, so he’ll write his own bill.

Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) plans to unveil a new draft bill next week and has set the first week in March as the target date for committee review.

The panel’s top Republican, Richard Shelby of Alabama, plans to bring his own bill to that meeting […]

Shelby plans to unveil the GOP alternative in time for the committee mark up of Dodd’s draft, and he would likely offer it as a substitute amendment, Shelby aides said.

The goal has been to draft a bill that all Republican members can support since the decision to pursue an alternative was made by all the GOP members, the aides said. “This is their decision to work together to put a product out that works for them,” one aide said.

It appears Shelby is advancing a Republican alternative to pressure Bob Corker away from working with Democrats on a final product. Yet Corker has not agreed to an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which the White House still sees as a centerpiece of any reform.

So you have a Republican-written bill, and an unfinished bill from Dodd, without clarity on the consumer protection aspect.

I know this isn’t as important as Tiger Woods walking into a room to say he’s sorry, but it does affect the entire economy, so…

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David Dayen

David Dayen