–After Brief Debate, Banking Panel Defers Key Issues Until Later
–Senate Banking Chief Dodd Says Talks With Republicans To Continue
–Sen. Dodd: ‘We Are Moving Forward On This Issue’
–Sen. Shelby: No Bipartisan Agreement Yet, But Accord Is Possible
–Sen. Shelby: Have Made ‘Significant Progress’ On Many Issues

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – After less than thirty minutes of debate, the
Senate Banking Committee approved Monday the financial regulatory reform
plan crafted by the chairman of the panel, Sen. Chris Dodd, but senators
agreed the bill is largely a placeholder as bipartisan talks continue.

The Banking Committee approved the Dodd plan on a 13 to 10 party
line vote. All Democrats supported the bill and all Republicans opposed

In his opening statement, Dodd said the debate on financial
regulatory reform will be “spirited” and will continue.

He said that Republican leaders decided to withhold offering
hundreds of amendments that have been drafted during the committee
debate as talks continue on compromise legislation.

“We are moving forward on this issue,” Dodd said.

“We will not fail. We will have reform this year,” he added.

It appears likely that bipartisan discussions will intensify over
the coming weeks in the hope that an agreement can be reached after
Congress returns from its spring recess in early April.

Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the panel, said
Republicans oppose Dodd’s plan in its current form, but believe a “broad
bipartisan agreement” is possible.

“We’ve made significant progress,” Shelby said, adding that he
“remains optimistic” that an accord can be achieved.

“I don’t believe we’re quite there yet,” Shelby said.

The decision by Republican senators to allow Dodd’s plan to pass in
less than an hour is surprising since they’ve been insisting that even a
week-long mark-up would be insufficient given the scope and complexity
of Dodd’s bill.

Dodd’s legislation establishes a new independent Consumer
Protection Bureau at the Federal Reserve Board, creates a process to
liquidate failed financial firms,” sets up a council of regulators to
oversee systemic risk in the economy, establishes a regulatory structure
for over-the-counter derivatives, requires hedge funds that manage over
$100 million to register with the SEC and creates a new office within
Treasury to monitor the insurance industry.

Under Dodd’s bill, the Federal Reserve would oversee bank holding
companies with assets over $50 billion. Dodd’s bill also would require
the president of the New York Federal Reserve Board to be appointed by
the President of the U.S. and confirmed by the Senate.

Senate Democratic leaders have said that financial regulatory
reform will be a central item on the Senate agenda this spring.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he is putting financial
regulatory reform legislation on the front-burner after health care,
adding he wants the Senate to pass a regulatory reform bill by the end
of May.

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

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