Democrats, Republicans Still at Odds In Senate Contest on Financial Reform

All 41 Senate Republicans April 16 voiced opposition to financial reform legislation (S. 3217) now headed to the Senate floor, saying the bill would allow “endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street” and create “new and unlimited regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and community banks.” “We are united in our opposition to the partisan legislation reported by the Senate Banking Committee,” the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. For now, at least, the letter by the GOP senators signals that Democrats are still short of the 60 votes needed to quickly move the bill to a floor vote without extended debate.

Agreement Elusive So Far

In remarks at a White House meeting of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, President Obama continued to express hopes for a bipartisan bill, but said bipartisanship “cannot mean simply allowing lobbyist-driven loopholes that put American taxpayers at risk.” Hopes are still high for broad agreement on the biggest overhaul of financial services regulation since the 1930s. But for the moment, political maneuvering is still intense. “Right now, it looks like hand-to-hand combat,” Federal Financial Analytics Inc. Founder and Managing Partner Karen Shaw Petrou told BNA April 16.