Gregg 'basically' has agreement on derivatives language

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said Monday that he "basically" has an agreement on derivatives language with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to be included in the financial regulatory bill.

Both senators are members of the Banking Committee, and should they reach an agreement, it could represent a step forward for the financial bill, which faced a setback earlier Monday.

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"We have almost an agreement on derivatives. Derivatives are a huge, complex issue," he said on Fox News. "Senator Jack Reed and I have been working six months to come up with language to address this and we think we basically have an agreement."

After meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Tuesday, centrist Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she could not vote to move the bill forward, leaving Democrats without the 60th vote they need to begin debate on the measure.

Last month, Reed and Gregg failed to agree on derivatives language, forcing Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to include placeholder language in his legislation.

Derivatives have been blamed in large part for spurring the financial crisis because they were not subject to the same regulations to which other financial products are subject.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), whose panel has oversight over derivatives, is crafting tough new rules for them that could force the financial products to be traded by a separate unit within a bank outside of its day-to-day operations. But that plan has already met Republican opposition.

Gregg, however, indicated that the two sides are farther apart on the issue of a new consumer agency.

"We have pretty much agreement on the consumer side, or we did at one point, how to structure this, put it in the Fed and make it an agency within the same status with people who are responsible for safety and soundness," he said.

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