Republicans Say They May Filibuster Financial Reform

Posted April 25, 2010 at 11:01am

Senate Republicans plan to filibuster Monday’s procedural vote on the financial regulation bill if the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee doesn’t reach a bipartisan compromise in time.

“This is not a situation where anybody I know in the Senate wants no bill to pass, but it is important to pass a good bill,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”

McConnell took issue with the $50 million fund Democrats have proposed to restructure big banks – deemed “too big to fail” – whose collapse could affect the overall economy. He also sought changes to the bill’s capital requirements on how much debt a bank can take on.

McConnell expressed optimism that the two parties could find common ground in the issue.

“We don’t have a bipartisan compromise yet but I think there’s a good chance we’re going to get it,” he said.

Banking chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) took time away from ongoing negotiations to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“We’ve got to end once and for all the casino atmosphere of Wall Street,” Shelby said, but “the language is not there yet.” He does not support the current proposal, saying it gives too much flexibility to federal regulators.

He also disagreed with the premise that banks can be “too big to fail,” and said, “Being big in my judgment is not necessarily bad.”

Dodd insisted that Republicans should vote in favor of the bill Monday, saying that they will have a chance to amend the bill later.

“This doesn’t end the debate tomorrow. It begins the debate,” he said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a member of the Banking Committee, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that Wall Street lobbyists could kill the legislation if Republicans delay the debate.

He accused Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has withheld support for the legislation, of caving to pressure from the Republican leadership “on behalf of Wall Street lobbyists.”

“Nobody pulled me back,” Corker responded, saying that Republicans expect to see their demands met before they will back the bill. “We voted it out of committee … with the understanding that before the bill came to the floor, we’d reach a bipartisan agreement.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) called for “tougher regulations on Wall Street,” but said, “We don’t need to overreach so that we have unintended consequences” on consumers, such as higher prices. “I hope we can get together in a bipartisan way,” he said.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) also called for reform, saying, “If we let Wall Street run wild, they will run wild.”