Sources: Dodd, Shelby Negotiations Breaking Down

Posted February 4, 2010 at 4:08pm

Negotiations between Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on financial regulatory reform legislation are breaking down, according to several financial services lobbyists.

The pair, who were scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon, continue to have significant differences of opinion on how to move forward on consumer protections.

Yet, there may still be some hope of a deal. Earlier in the week, negotiations had hit a complete standstill, sources said, but it appears the two are still trying to form some kind of a consensus bill.

“Talks are still going on, and there’s still a very good chance that a
bipartisan agreement is coming out,” said a Democratic staffer who is
familiar with the discussions. “People who say the talks are going south may not like parts of the bill. They may be calling it over because they don’t like parts of the bill.”

Neither Senator favors the Obama administration’s plan for a consumer protection agency. But Dodd and Shelby are at a standoff over how much power to give the consumer division, according to financial services lobbyists. Dodd favors giving more power, while Shelby wants less.

So far, it appears Shelby is still negotiating.

“We’re talking, that’s all I can tell you,” Shelby told Roll Call.

Still, financial services lobbyists said Dodd could move forward with a more moderate bill as soon as next week.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Banking panel, said Dodd appears ready to move forward.

“I know they’re still in talks,” Corker said. “A couple days ago, the sun was not shining as bright.”

“If we can reach what I consider to be a good, solid bill, I’ll support it,” he added.