Dodd Forges Ahead with Financial Reform Bill with or without Republican Support

From Marketwatch:



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.

Governor McDonnell Reverses AG’s Advice on Protection for Gays

From WTOP and the Associated Press:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has directed state agencies not to discriminate against gay people, essentially overriding the state attorney general’s advice to colleges.

McDonnell’s directive Wednesday came amid a public uproar over Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli’s letter last week telling public colleges they lack the authority to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Cuccinelli told colleges to rescind or change any anti-discrimination policies that include protection for gay people.

The Republican attorney general’s letter was denounced by gay-rights groups and Democrats. In the letter, Cuccinelli said colleges can’t include gays in their anti-discrimination policies without General Assembly authorization.

The Richmond Times Dispatch further adds that the AG is all happy that the governor has issued his ‘don’t discriminate’ decree. Now what’s wrong with this picture?

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who says there’s nothing in Virginia law to protect gay state workers from discrimination, is welcoming Gov. Bob McDonnell’s decree against bias on the basis of sexual orientation.

However, it’s not clear from a written statement just issued by Cuccinelli whether he backs the governor’s legal thinking in issuing a so-called executive directive protecting gay employees.

“I applaud Gov. McDonnell for the tone he is setting for the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Cuccinelli.

“I will remain in contact with the governor and continue to work with him on issues important to Virginians. I expect Virginia’s state employees to follow all state and federal anti-discrimination laws and will enforce Virginia’s laws to the fullest extent.”

So if you are feeling just a little bit confused, welcome to my world. Has someone contacted Jon Stewart to tell him its OK  here in Virginia now?  The Guv has nullified the AG.  Maybe he will now retract his remark about our gay flag. 

Perhaps Gov. Moderate McDonnell has discovered that Virginia really does want a mainstream governor and that this nonsense just isn’t going to fly. I am glad he made this decision.