Dems compromise in financial overhaul
Left to right: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks with Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Senator Jud Gregg (R-NH) as they leave a closed-door meeting of the Senate Republican Caucus.
TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Bob Moon: We've all heard the comparisons between the recent meltdown and The Great Depression in the worst possible way. Now the flip side: The pundits are predicting the most sweeping rewrite of financial rules since . . . well, you know. Republicans have agreed to let the debate proceed after Democrats made a handful of concessions. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer joins us live now from Washington. Good morning.
Nancy Marshall Genzer: Good morning, Bob.
Moon: And why have the Republicans decided to stop the stalling?
Genzer: Well, it's pretty simple: Democrats compromised. They dropped plans for a $50 billion fund that would be used to dismantle large financial firms that were failing. Now the money for that fund would have come from a fee on banks, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans plan many more changes to the bill.
MITCH MCCONNELL: The majority leader has indicated we'll have an open amendment process and plenty of opportunities to treat this like the serious, comprehensive bill that it is. We have many amendments that we intend to offer.
Now Bob, there was an immediate reason for the Republicans to end their filibuster. Reuters says an agreement between the two sides was announced last night just minutes after an aide said cots would be set up for senators to sleep on, so they could have an all-night session.
Moon: Ok, so the debate is now happening. When does it start? And how long do you think it's going to last?
Genzer: Well the debate is scheduled to kick off around lunch time here in Washington today, so everybody got to sleep in a little bit. It's expected to last for two weeks, and that's because both sides are expected to introduce amendments. And Republicans could threaten to filibuster those amendments as they're proposed.
Moon: Now I've seen reports that the Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd, is still negotiating with Republicans on a bipartisan deal. What are they talking about?
Genzer: Well one big thing they still disagree on is a consumer protection bureau the bill would create. As it is now, the bureau would be inside the Federal Reserve. Democrats had wanted a stand-alone agency, and Republicans are worried the proposed bureau would be too far reaching.
Moon: Nancy Marshall-Genzer in Washington, thanks.
Genzer: You're welcome.