Senate to tackle Wall Street reform

With a weekend push from President Obama and the SEC charges against Goldman Sachs in the background, Democrats plan to start debating the Wall Street reform bill in the Senate this week, even as Republicans continue to say they oppose the bill.

The president made reform the centerpiece of his weekly radio address to the nation.

“The consequences of this failure of responsibility — from Wall Street to Washington — are all around us: 8 million jobs lost, trillions in savings erased, countless dreams diminished or denied, ” Obama said. “I believe we have to do everything we can to ensure that no crisis like this ever happens again.”

Wall Street reform got additional impetus Friday when the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman with defrauding investors on mortgage-backed securities. (The tale of Goldman’s fraud charges)

But, in a letter to Senate Democrats on Friday, 41 Senate Republicans said they “are united” in opposing the current bill that passed the Banking Committee last month, according to a letter penned by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The letter signals that Republicans have enough votes to delay the bill. However, their letter stopped short of vowing to block the bill from being debated. They said they wanted more say in creating a “bipartisan and inclusive approach.”

Democrats responded with a timeline pointing out all the different meetings and negotiations that have gone on between lawmakers and staffs of both parties over the past six months. They also point out that Banking panel chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., continue to meet and negotiate differences.

“We can disagree over serious, substantive issues. We can have a real debate over the future of our country, but if this bill does not represent a bipartisan effort, I don’t know what does,” said Dodd. “I have been in extensive talks with my Republican colleagues for over a year, and I still am.”


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