20100315 dodd financial reform 18
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., unveils new financial legislation on Capitol Hill, March 15, 2010. - 


Kai Ryssdal: In Washington, D.C., the through line is financial reform. The Senate's expected to vote on its bill later this week. But there's still plenty of negotiating room before we get to the final yeas and nays. There's wrangling over a consumer protection agency. And whether or not to have banks pay for a fund that will help failing banks fail.

So we asked Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer to give us the latest.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd has spent months shepherding the bill. It's been a lot like herding cats.

CHRISTOPHER DODD: It's time now to act.

Dodd is in final negotiations with the top Republican on his committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama. They're tussling over whether a consumer protection agency will be independent or part of the Federal Reserve. Senator Shelby wanted the agency in the Fed, but now is reportedly ready to compromise.

Harvard Corporate Management Professor F. M. Scherer says that's no surprise.

F.M. SCHERER: Certainly the recent events with Goldman Sachs make it more likely that something will be done.

The government sued Goldman last week, saying it misled investors about derivatives, complex investments that contributed to the financial crisis. The overhaul would require trading them on open exchanges for the first time. And could force some banks to get out of the derivatives market. Banks are lobbying furiously against that. They also don't like the idea of contributing billions into a fund to dismantle failing financial institutions.

Scott Talbott is a senior lobbyist with the Financial Services Roundtable.

SCOTT TALBOTT: Pulling $50 billion out of lending institutions now will slow the recovery and reduce their ability to lend.

Robert Weissman expects all this to play out on the Senate floor. Weissman is president of the consumer group Public Citizen.

ROBERT WEISSMAN: It's a good thing if they spend time hashing out arguments about, for example, whether we want strong control over the casino economy.

Watch for lawmakers to bring up lots of amendments during the Senate debate.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.