Dodd Unveils Sweeping Financial Overhaul

Posted March 15, 2010 at 2:36pm

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) introduced a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial industry Monday, assuring that the bill would prevent the kind of economic meltdown that rocked Wall Street in 2008.

“Two years ago today, Bear Stearns was collapsing,” Dodd said at press conference, noting that “the failures that led to this crisis require bold action.”

The measure, which has been anticipated for months by financial stakeholders, creates a consumer protection agency within the Federal Reserve and ends the practice of the government bailing out institutions that are near collapse. The bill includes more oversight measures and aims to rein in abusive lending practices.

Dodd hoped to introduce a bipartisan measure and noted his disappointment Monday that Republican support has eluded him. Still, the chairman said he was hopeful the bill would win GOP backing as it emerges from committee and moves to the floor.

“I don’t have standing with me today bipartisan support at this podium,” Dodd said. But “this is a time that I’m now introducing this bill. We’ll begin the markup next week and move forward.”

Dodd noted that the primary sticking points remain the consumer protection agency and corporate governance rules.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who has been the lead Republican negotiator on the issue for the last month, declined to immediately get behind the bill in a statement Monday following Dodd’s press conference.

“I appreciate Chairman Dodd including many of the concepts we have worked on over the past month in the legislation he introduced today,” Corker said. “The bill he has introduced has a number of policies I cannot support, but I will continue working through the amendment process in committee and on the floor to hopefully make it a bill that can receive broad bipartisan support.”

Banking Committee Republicans also oppose moving to a markup next week. In a letter sent to Dodd last week, the GOP Senators complained that the timeline “will not allow Members sufficient time to fully understand the details of your new legislative proposals.”
But Dodd pledged to forge ahead.

“We must restore responsibility and accountability in our financial system to give Americans confidence that there is a system in place that works for and protects them,” he said in a statement. “We must create a sound foundation to grow the economy and create jobs.”