Government gets a jump on preparing for regulatory overhaul

By Brady Dennis

Administration officials and federal regulators quietly began laying the groundwork to implement the far-reaching measures in the 2,300-page regulatory overhaul legislation weeks ago, even though the bill has not yet cleared Congress. The Senate moved to hold a vote on Thursday, and the bill, with support from three Republicans, now seems all but certain to become law. The House already approved the package, meaning that within days the focus will shift to the mountain of work needed to transform thousands of pages of legislative text into regulatory reality. “It’s like taking the elephants over the Alps — it’s on that order of magnitude in terms of the task in front of all the regulators,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, a Washington research firm. Even disregarding the ongoing debate about whether the bill will rein in the recklessness and regulatory failures that led to the financial crisis, she said, “the immutable fact is that a lot has got to change.”