By Silla Brush - 03/15/10 01:25 AM EDT
When he unveils financial overhaul legislation on Monday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will be attempting to reconcile liberal demands for tough action against Wall Street with the vote-counting realities of the Senate.
Dodd spent months negotiating with Republicans behind the scenes to garner bipartisan support for an overhaul package intended to prevent future financial crises. But after all the twists and turns and weeks of deep negotiations with Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerTrump vows to expand map for GOP, win Michigan Trump address gets mixed reaction from GOP Trump outlines ‘America first’ foreign policy MORE (R-Tenn.), Dodd is left without GOP support.
Those liberal and conservative criticisms leave Dodd in the tricky middle, with a potentially treacherous path forward on one of President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaBoehner: Ted Cruz a 'miserable son of a bitch' Poll: Most Americans disapprove of ObamaCare Bernie Sanders is the third-party candidate you've been waiting for MORE's highest domestic priorities this year. Democrats hold 59 seats in the Senate and will need to attract at least one Republican vote to break a filibuster.
Dodd is set to retire at the end of the year and the makeup of both the House and Senate could be dramatically different in January, with Democrats headed into a challenging midterm election.
"I don't have a lot of time left in this Congress. I think all of us who have been in this room and around the years know how this can go by very quickly," Dodd said Thursday.
Dodd has scheduled a markup for the week of March 22 and the bill he unveils will likely include many of the ideas discussed with Corker. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSenate Dems block spending bill over Iran amendment — again Cruz: Boehner unleashed his ‘inner Trump’ Reid, McConnell trade fire over stalled energy bill MORE (D-Nev.) said Democrats would look to pass a financial bill through the Senate by the Memorial Day break.
All 10 Republicans on Dodd's committee pleaded over the weekend for more time to consider such wide-ranging legislation, in a sign of the potentially unanimous opposition the bill will face from the GOP.
A source briefed on the plan said it would include Federal Reserve supervision of banks with $50 billion in assets or more; a consumer office at the Federal Reserve with power to write rules, limited enforcement authorities and similar preemption powers as passed the House; and a resolution system that favors bankruptcy proceedings.
A compromise with Corker in lieu of a standalone Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) continues to irk consumer advocates and liberal Democrats. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) called it "a horrible idea" to replace the agency proposal with a consumer office at the Fed.
Democratic Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownLet the Democratic veepstakes begin The Trail 2016: Trump applies presidential polish, Cruz adds VP GOP senator jokingly calls Sherrod Brown 'Mr. Vice President' MORE (Ohio), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Finance: Fed steady on rates; Dems rally behind retirement rule Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (Ore.) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' With Ryan’s blessing, lawmakers press ahead with tax reform talks Big business will never appease the Left MORE (N.Y.) were wary of the idea. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) panned the idea and has criticized the Fed for falling down on its regulatory role in the run-up to the crisis.
The concerns stretch beyond the highest-profile issue of consumer protection. Five Democratic senators last week unveiled a tough provision to rein in big banks and prevent them from engaging in proprietary trading. The proposal, based on the administration’s "Volcker rule," was backed by Democratic Sens. Merkley, Carl LevinCarl LevinCarl, Sander Levin rebuke Sanders for tax comments on Panama trade deal Supreme Court: Eye on the prize Congress got it wrong on unjustified corporate tax loopholes MORE (Mich.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Brown and Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenPentagon looks to reduce billion energy bill Senate looks for easy wins amid 2016 gridlock Overnight Healthcare: House GOP confident opioid bills will pass MORE (N.H.).
But earlier this year, Dodd said he was reluctant to spelling out such detailed restrictions on big banks in the financial package and felt that the late proposal from the Obama administration would complicate negotiations.