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 CorkerFormer Ford CEO possible candidate for secretary of State: report Reid bids farewell to the Senate Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech 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 ObamaObama to appear on 'The Daily Show' with Trevor Noah Brian Williams slams fake news Obama: I absolutely faced racism while in office 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 ReidFeinstein after dinner with Clinton: She has 'accepted' her loss Clintons remember John Glenn as a 'uniquely American hero' Clinton reappears on Capitol Hill for Reid send-off 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 BrownSenate Democrats dig in as shutdown approaches Overnight Energy: Fight over miners' benefits risks shutdown | Flint aid crosses finish line in House Overnight Finance: Senate Dems dig in as shutdown looms | Trump taps fast-food exec for Labor chief | Portland's new CEO tax MORE (Ohio), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Energy: Fight over miners' benefits risks shutdown | Flint aid crosses finish line in House Senate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk Dem senator: Trump’s EPA pick is ‘corruption’ MORE (Ore.) and Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Dems hold out on spending deal, risking shutdown Dems see ’18 upside in ObamaCare repeal Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York 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 Levin'Nuclear option' for Supreme Court nominees will damage Senate McCain's Supreme Court strategy leads to nuclear Senate The Fed and a return to banking simplicity MORE (Mich.), Ted Kaufman (Del.), Brown and Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDems push for panel to probe Russian interference in election Hoyer pushes White House for briefing on Russian election interference This Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks 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.