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Derivative reform struggles in Senate

Capitol Hill at sunrise

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: The Senate is expected to tackled up the financial reform bill again today after the measure stumbled in the Senate yesterday. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer joins us live from Washington with some details. Good morning, Nancy.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: Good morning.

Radke: What tripped up the bill?

Genzer: Well, Democrats needed 60 votes yesterday to start debate on the bill. They were three votes short. Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, voted with Republicans against starting debate yesterday. But he says he still supports financial reform he just wants to change the bill a bit to benefit the richest man in Nebraska, billionaire Warren Buffett.

Radke: And what does the Nebraska senator says he wants to change in the bill?

Genzer: Well, Nelson doesn't like how the bill treats companies that already own derivatives. These are very complex investments, they're blamed for helping cause the financial crisis. The bill would regulate them and the bill says that companies that already own derivatives would have to hold more money in reserve to cover them against losses. And that could cost Buffett a lot of money.

Radke: OK, that's Mr. Buffett. What about the financial overhaul in general, Nancy -- where do things stand now?

Genzer: Well, the opposition from Republicans focuses on a part of the bill that would tax banks. And the money would be used to dismantle failing financial institutions. Republicans say they won't vote for the bill until it does more to protect taxpayers from having to foot the bill for another bailout. And they're now negotiating with Senate banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the financial reform bill is a priority:

Harry Reid: Democrats stand for protecting hard working Americans' life savings from Wall Street's gambling. And we stand for making our financial system more transparent, so we can rein in risky bets before it's too late.

And Reid could call for another vote as early as today.

Radke: We'll be watching. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer in Washington, D.C. Thank you.

Genzer: You're welcome.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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