20100429 dodd reid 18
Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) makes remarks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) during a news conference about the financial reform bill inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. - 


Tess Vigeland: Today, at long last, the Senate started wading through amendments to a bill that could become the most comprehensive restructuring of financial oversight since the Great Depression. After a two-week political standoff, Republicans last night voted to let the bill onto the Senate floor. There's a long way to go before we know exactly what the reforms might look like.

But Marketplace's John Dimsdale tells us how the bill is taking shape so far.

JOHN DIMSDALE: As of right now, Democrats have agreed to drop a $50 billion fund to unwind a failing bank. The bill does have a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. But opening the debate Republican Senator Richard Shelby said he'll try to amend a bill...

RICHARD SHELBY: That will create massive and intrusive new government bureaucracies, damage job creation, reduce private investment in productive projects, make risk management more difficult, and threaten our economy.

Republicans want to rein in the powers of the consumer protection agency to keep it from imposing onerous rules on small businesses, car dealers, and even doctors who extend credit to their patients.

Taylor Griffin with Hamilton Place Strategies says there's one office in the consumer agency that has too much authority.

TAYLOR GRIFFIN: The office of financial research would have access to vast swaths of consumer data, and there is concern that perhaps there's too much information belonging to consumers that's going to be in the hands of the government.

The bill regulates the trading of derivatives. But Republicans will try to get rid of the requirement that big banks spin off their derivative operations.

Nick Kalivas at MF Global says banks rely on those profits.

NICK KALIVAS: It could actually make some of these banks more risky because they don't have the diversified cash flow.

The bill's managers want to finish in two weeks. But they are already over 100 amendments and voting doesn't begin until Tuesday.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.