WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — After months of trying to get Republican support for tougher regulations to prevent the next global financial crisis, Sen. Chris Dodd has decided to move ahead with or without bipartisan backing.
Dodd desperately wants a financial reform bill as a capstone to his 36-year career in Washington. But his lengthy negotiations with his Republican counterparts Richard Shelby and Bob Corker had produced little agreement, just headlines.
Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced Thursday that he would present his own bill to his committee on Monday. The banking committee — with 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans — will likely vote on the bill next week.
Dodd’s decision to abandon an endless quest to reach a bipartisan deal may make it more likely that Congress will actually enact legislation this year to rein in the worst of the abuses that helped lead the global economy to the brink.
The more Dodd negotiated with Shelby and Corker, the more watered-down the bill became. Each compromise with the Republicans made it less likely that the House of Representatives — remember them? — would go along.
The last straw may have been when Corker demanded that any consumer protection agency would not only have to be toothless, but it would also have to be run by the Federal Reserve, the omnipotent agency that utterly failed to protect consumers, the banks or the economy during the housing bubble.
The path to landing a final bill on President Barack Obama’s desk will still be complicated. Dodd will have to clear the bill out of his own committee and then find at least one Republican in the 100-member Senate to help him overcome the inevitable filibuster. And then he’ll have to compromise with the House.
By all accounts, the Republicans negotiated in good faith. But there were some issues that just couldn’t be compromised. It is time to act.
It seems like regulations are desperately needed. I don’t ever want another September 2008 again, where we all sit there and watch whatever we have accumulated melt away before our eyes. I don’t want the rich to get richer and the middle income folks to become poor folks, often at our expense. This is one reason that the Republicans have earned the moniker ‘The Party of NO.
Dodd has nothing to lose. He isn’t coming back. I thank him for sticking with this one. He was also offered Kennedy’s chair. He refused it because he wanted to deal with campaign finance. It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to do the right thing and pass some reform, even if in incremental steps.