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After Killing $50 Billion Pre-Fund, GOP Will Argue FinReg Doesn’t Raise Enough Revenue

This is a classic Republican move. They spent weeks calling the $50 billion dollar liquidation fund, paid for by the banks, a “permanent bailout fund,” and threatened to blow up the entire financial regulatory bill if that remained intact. Democrats simply changed the $50 billion from a pre-fund to a post-fund, and that was that. But now, the bill essentially lost $50 billion in revenue. And Republicans, who demanded that change, will now say that the bill violates pay-go rules:

Senate Republicans are plotting a budget point of order against the financial reform bill because it no longer complies with pay-as-you-go rules.

“This issue will undoubtedly be raised,” Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) told The Hill.

The bill at present will come up about $17 billion short of meeting its costs, according to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

The problem is the decision by Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and ranking Republican Richard Shelby (Ala.) to eliminate a $50 billion fund to pay for the costs of winding down a failing firm. Industry would pay money into the fund.

Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln are quoted later in the article stressing that the bill must not violate pay-go, which is statutory at this point.

You have to admit, Republicans are good. They savage the bill for having a “bailout fund” that isn’t a bailout fund, and when it’s taken out they savage the bill for not collecting enough in revenue.

There’s a way out of this, of course – add the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee, or “bank tax,” meant to recoup TARP losses, into the bill. But Republicans won’t want that either, I suppose.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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