Has Dodd Given Up On Bipartisan Financial Regulation?


Big news today on the financial reform front: Banking Committee Chairman Senator Dodd (D-CT) will be proposing a revised bill to the committee on Monday -- without Republican support. This is a dramatic reversal from what had been happening. For the past month, Dodd appeared to have an ally in Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) to try to create a bipartisan bill, which would have a distinctive Republican influence. News today indicates that Dodd has abandoned his attempt to make the bill acceptable to Republicans. This is not a good sign.

At 11:00am, Corker held a press conference indicating his disappointment that Dodd has decided to go ahead with a revised bill without Republican support. To me, that indicates that passing the bill in the Senate will be very difficult. Corker appeared to be one of the only Republicans willing to seriously work with Dodd on getting something the right could stomach. We'd been receiving reports all month about the progress being made. Without Corker on board, it may be very difficult to get any other Senate Republicans to vote for the measure.

But it does depend on whatever this revised proposal looks like -- and we won't know that until Monday. Dodd released a statement this morning as well. He said:

"On Monday, I will present to my colleagues a substitute to the original financial reform package, unveiled last November."

"Over the last few months, Banking Committee members have worked together to try and produce a consensus package. Together we have made significant progress and resolved a many of the items, but a few outstanding issues remain."

"It has always been my goal to produce a consensus package. And we have reached a point where bringing the bill to the full committee is the best course of action to achieve that end. I plan to hold a full committee markup the week of March 22nd."

"I have been fortunate to have a strong partner in Senator Corker, and my new proposal will reflect his input and the good work done by many of our colleagues as well."

"Our talks will continue, and it is still our hope to come to agreement on a strong bill all of the Senate can be proud to support very soon."

So it may, in fact, contain some of the Corker compromises. But given Corker's disappointment with Dodd's announcement, it's pretty clear that Corker didn't consider their work done. That indicates that there must be some issues where Dodd refused to compromise. If those are significant issues for Republicans -- and I assume they are or a compromise would have been achievable -- then that could spell trouble for the bill's fate.

Whether he likes it or not, Dodd needs some Republican support. Even if he can get a bill out of committee, he needs 60 votes to prevent filibuster, and Democrats only account for 59. And given how close even the House's vote was, it's pretty plausible that even a few fiscally conservative Democrats could be apprehensive about voting for a bill that still has some controversial provisions.

Naturally, I'll dig into Dodd's new proposal on Monday as soon as I get it.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.
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