–House-Senate Conference Panel Will Meet Thursday For Opening Remarks
–Panel Will Begin Working Through Amendments Next Tuesday
–House Leaders Appoint 16 Members To Conference Committee

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – The House-Senate conference committee on
financial regulatory reform will begin its work Thursday afternoon at
2:15 p.m. and will devote its opening session to formally appointing a
chairman and allowing all of the members of the special panel to make
opening statements.

According to a briefing by congressional staffers, House Financial
Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank will be approved as chairman of
the joint panel.

Frank will serve as the conference panel’s formal chairman due to a
tradition in which the chairmen of the Senate Banking Committee and
House Financial Services Committee rotate the chairmanship of conference
panels. It is now Frank’s turn to the chair the joint panel.

Senate Banking chief Chris Dodd is expected to formally move
Thursday that Frank serve as chairman of the conference committee.

The staffers said that after opening remarks Thursday afternoon,
the House-Senate conference committee will resume its deliberations next

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, staffers said.

House leaders will name 10 Democrats and six Republicans to the
conference panel.

Several weeks ago, 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 will have 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.

Many lawmakers have said that the central issue to be resolved will
be how to regulate the over-the-counter derivatives market. 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.

The House and Senate bills require expanded audits of the Federal
Reserve Board, but the House version is both more expansive and
intrusive and would include a review of some monetary decisions made by
the Fed.

The two bills also differ on the precise powers of a new consumer
protection entity; the House bill creates a stand-alone agency while the
Senate bill places it within the Fed.

Congressional Democrats, with guidance from the White House and
Treasury are expected to shape the compromise package. It remains
unclear what role congressional Republicans will play in these

Even if all Senate Democrats and the two independents vote on a
final compromise, it seems likely the final bill will need at least one
Republican vote to pass the Senate.

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

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