–Senate Banking Chairman Dodd: Must Not ‘Water Down’ Reg Reform Bill
–Sen. Dodd: Senate Bill Will Be ‘Jumping Off Point’ For Debate
–House Financial Services Chairman Says He Wants Final Bill Soon
–Rep. Frank: Vows To Bring ‘Openess’ To Conference Deliberations
–Sen. Lincoln: Defends Derivatives Provisions In Senate Bill
–Sen. Shelby: Expects Dems To Craft Final Bill Behind Closed Doors
–Sen. Shelby: Bill Should Have Included Rating Agencies, GSEs

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said Thursday
that the House-Senate conference committee on financial regulatory
reform will be open, move swiftly, and craft a strong overhaul package.

The session began with a voice vote to make Frank the chairman of
the joint panel which will try to reconcile the House and Senate
versions of regulatory reform legislation.

In opening statements at the start of the House-Senate conference
committee, Dodd and Frank said they are determined to move carefully but
quickly to assemble a final bill.

Dodd said the deliberations will center around the Senate-passed
bill with various adjustments made by the House.

Dodd said that during the nearly month-long “full throated” debate
in the Senate, the regulatory reform bill was strengthened, adding that
he hopes this continues.

“I don’t want to see the bill weakened at all,” Dodd said.

But he added that he expects the current package to be altered by
the conference panel.

“I would expect changes to be made in the coming days,” he said.

Frank said he wants the deliberations to be fair, but also to be
relatively brief.

He said his “impatience” to get a final bill will compel him to
keep the conference deliberations moving at a fast pace.

“This is going to be a very open process,” Frank said.

Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Banking
Committee, said he believes the final package will largely be written by
Democrats behind closed doors — and then ratified by the House-Senate
conference committee.

Shelby was sharply critical of the provision in the Senate bill to
tighten regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives market, saying it
will drive some of the derivatives business out of the U.S.

Shelby also said the Democratic bills fail to deal with the “core
issue” of reform of government-sponsored enterprises and also do not
adequately address the need to overhaul the work of credit rating

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, the main
author of controversial derivatives provisions, defended her ideas and
gave no indication of being willing to drop them.

OTC derivatives reform, she said, is “at the heart” of financial
regulatory reform.

Both the House and Senate bills require most derivatives to be
traded through third parties, but the Senate bill has fewer exemptions
for end-users. Additionally, the Senate version would force banks to
spin off their derivatives units.

Lincoln said she continues to believe that “derivatives dealing is
not central to the business of banking.”

The Thursday meeting of the House-Senate conference committee is
focusing exclusively on opening statements by the members.

After opening remarks Thursday, the House-Senate conference
committee will resume its deliberations next Tuesday and begin walking
through the text of the bill.

The House passed its regulatory reform bill in December of 2009
while the Senate approved its bill several weeks ago.

The House-Senate conference committee will work to reconcile the
House and Senate regulatory reform bills. Any compromise must then be
approved by the full House and Senate.

The deliberations will begin by using the Senate-passed bill as the
“base text” of the negotiations.

House leaders named 10 Democrats and six Republicans to the
conference panel. Senate leaders appointed seven Democrats and five
Republicans to the conference committee.

In addition to these conferees, representatives from other panels
will attend sessions that are devoted to sections of the package for
which they have jurisdiction.

The regulatory reform bill has more than a dozen sections and the
conference committee will go through each section for discussion and
possible amendment.

Both Dodd and Frank said they would like a final bill to be
approved by Congress and sent to President Obama by July 4th.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

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