Senators Plan To Flood Financial Reform Bill With Nearly 400 Amendments
Senators plan to offer nearly 400 amendments to the financial reform bill the Senate Banking Committee will take up on Monday -- ranging from Democratic provisions to strengthen the proposed consumer protection agency to Republican amendments calling for new rules potentially compromising the independence of the board that sets financial accounting standards.
Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the committee whose bipartisan negotiations with committee Chairman Christopher Dodd broke down last month, is responsible for 109 amendments alone. Earlier this week, Shelby, of Alabama, told the Huffington Post that "probably not a lot" will happen in the committee, indicating that the real battle will come on the Senate floor.
The document outlining the amendments, obtained by HuffPost, doesn't include the actual language of the provisions, but it does give a sense of what the senators plan to push for.
Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, may offer an amendment that "would establish a fully independent [consumer-focused] agency that has full authority to write rules, supervise, and bring enforcement actions against all banks and nonbanks engaged in consumer financial products or services with no veto by any prudential regulator," according to the document.
That's a far cry from how Dodd's current bill treats the proposed agency, which has largely been de-fanged since it was first proposed by President Obama last summer.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, may offer an amendment preventing banks from betting against the securities they underwrite and sell to investors, an activity likened to "selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer of those cars."
Shelby, who wowed a crowd of bankers this week in Washington, plans to introduce an amendment to "remove the requirement for certain executives to swear under oath what risks their firm poses to financial stability," the document shows. Dodd's bill allows the Federal Reserve to require certain systemically-important firms to "submit reports under oath" detailing the firm's financial condition and "the extent to which the activities and operations of the company... pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States."
READ a summary of the amendments below: