Frank, Dodd confident on financial reform

The top Democrats on the House and Senate committees tasked with enacting broad reforms of the financial system said on Wednesday that they are confident they can both pass legislation by the end of the year.

House Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Senate Banking Committee chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said they were both given assurances from leadership in the House and Senate that a regulatory plan would win floor time this year.

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The financial plan officially unveiled by President Obama on Wednesday requires congressional approval and would establish a new consumer protection agency, give the Federal Reserve vast new powers, and abolish one of the nation's four bank regulators.

Frank joked that House Democratic leadership has "threatened us with a severe chastening" if the plan is not raised for debate and votes this year.

Dodd said he intends to mark up a bill in the fall.

Two of the toughest provisions will be the president's desire to empower the Federal Reserve with new authority to watch over "systemic risk" and the proposal to establish a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

The central bank has come under criticism for its lack of transparency and for the trillions of dollars it has committed to fight the crisis without explicit authorization from Congress.

Dodd said there is "not a lot of confidence in the Fed right now."