Frank, Dodd say banks won't win concessions on Wall Street bill

The two chairman charged with leading a House-Senate conference on financial reform said the banks will not be able to to strip out language they deem onerous as negotiators reconcile differences between the two chambers.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) made their pledge at the White House after a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Frank and Dodd said Obama congratulated them on winning House and Senate approval of their respective bills, and they assured the president he will have a bill to sign before Congress leaves for the July Fourth recess.

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“It's hard for me to think this is going to take more than a month,” Frank said.

The two also said they would not “pre-conference” whether some of provisions, like one from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), would be removed.

Banking interests have said they think they can get a final product that won't restrict them as much, particularly when it comes to derivatives trading. Language in the Senate-approved bill backed by Lincoln, who is chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, is strongly opposed by the industry, and Dodd himself sought to change it.

The two declined to comment on how that section of the bill might be dealt with in conference.

Frank, however, suggested he wouldn’t be taking advice on the provisions from the banking industry.

“I wouldn't basically take a lot of investment advice from those bankers if they're not better at this than they are at politics,” Frank said.

Dodd and Frank also met with Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers.

The two said they have rarely seen two bills more closely aligned than the financial reform bills, although there are several key differences between the pieces of legislation, including on derivatives rules.

After Dodd thanked Republican Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) for crossing party lines to vote for the bill, Frank said House Republicans were too “intimidated” to do the same.

“I would thank the Republicans who voted for the bill in the House if there were any,” Frank said.

Both Frank and Dodd expressed hope of attracting more Republican support as the bill goes through the reconciliation process.