Members of the House-Senate committee approved proposals to restrict trading by banks for their own benefit and requiring banks and their parent companies to segregate much of their derivatives activities into a separately capitalized subsidiary.The bill, surprisingly, still has Blanche Lincoln's derivative language in it, the Volcker Rule (most of it) as well as laws that will prevent banks from playing the big casino games. It's actually a fairly good piece of legislation and it's considerably better than I thought it was going to be.
The agreements were reached after hours of negotiations, most of it behind closed doors and outside the public forum of the conference committee discussions. The approvals cleared the way for both houses of Congress to vote on the full financial regulatory bill next week.
The bill has been the subject of furious and expensive lobbying efforts by businesses and financial trade groups in recent months. While those efforts produced some specific exceptions to new regulations, by and large the bill’s financial regulations not only remained strong but in some cases gained strength as public outrage grew at the excesses that fueled the financial meltdown of 2008.
Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who shepherded the bill through the House, said the bill benefited from the increased attention that turned to the subject of financial regulation after Congress completed the health care bill.
“Last year when we were debating it in the house, health care was getting all of the attention and it was not as good a bill as I would have liked to bring out because we were not getting public attention,” Mr. Frank said. “What happened was with the passage of health care, the American public started to focus on this.”
Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said legislators were still uncertain how the bill will work until it is in place. “But we believe we’ve done something that has been needed for a long time,” he said.
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner also praised the conference committee for its work. “All Americans have a stake in this bill,” he said. “It will offer families the protections they deserve, help safeguard their financial security and give the businesses of America access to the credit they need to expand and innovate.”
Shame then that the Republicans will filibuster it in the Senate rather than see Obama and the Democrats get a legislative victory that might make voters take notice.