By Michael O'Brien - 05/08/10 10:00 AM EDT
Republicans are the party to stand with Main Street when it comes to
financial reform, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Saturday.
Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, turned Democrats' attacks on the GOP on their head, arguing that Republicans' opposition to the Wall Street reform bill favored by Democrats was in the best interest of small businesses.
"The Democrats chose, once again, to ignore the American people and unanimously rejected our amendment," Shelby said.
While Republicans voted in favor of some Democratic and bipartisan amendments to the financial reform bill during the first week of debate on the legislation, the Shelby amendment was a touchstone for many Republicans' concerns about the bill. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), another member of the Banking committee, said Friday that he would offer an amendment next week on behalf of Republicans seeking "surgical" changes to the bill.
Shelby touted some of the changes made to the bill over the past week, arguing that many of the amendments came at the GOP's insistence.
But Shelby also voiced other central Republican criticisms of
the bill, namely that the bill does little to address
government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both
of which were taken into government conservatorship at the height of
the financial crisis, and continue to require billions in taxpayer
"Their legislation to reform the financial system touches nearly every corner of the economy, but these major contributors to the crisis are left unscathed," Shelby said. "In the days to come, Republicans will be demanding that financial reform include Fannie and Freddie."
Shelby will also make the rounds on the Sunday talk show circuit to argue the GOP case against the bill in its current form, appearing both on CNN and CBS, where he'll square off against Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the chairman of the Banking committee, and the author of the bill before the Senate.
The Senate will begin voting again Tuesday on amendments to the bill. Despite a three-day workweek next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly said the bill must be finished by the end of next week.