Key senator thinks derivatives language could be stripped in conference

The language, which would require that financial firms spin off their derivatives trading outlets, has drawn fire from some lawmakers and officials such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairwoman Sheila Bair. 

Lincoln's derivatives amendment has been one of the main sticking points in the Senate's bill, which many say is tougher than the one in the House. Her panel shares oversight of derivatives with the banking panel.

The Senate passed its version of the legislation Thursday night, and a conference of House and Senate lawmakers will soon convene to merge the two bills and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Critics say the derivatives provisions could actually weaken regulations of the products because it would force them to be traded into less monitored firms or overseas. Big banks also oppose the language.

Lincoln, who is facing a primary challenge from the left, has fought for the provision to stay in the bill.

But Warner said of fixing problems with the bill that "this is all very doable."

Many observers say that derivatives, financial products whose value is based on the price of other products, helped cause the 2008 economic meltdown.

Warner attempted to negotiate separate language on the complex financial products with Republican Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) but they failed to come to a final agreement.

Overall, the Virginia senator said that he was pleased with the Senate's legislation.

"Maybe the fact that folks on each end of the extreme are shooting at it a little bit means that maybe we have kind of threaded this needle to enhance consumer protections, end 'too big to fail,' but still make sure America remains the center of capital markets for the world," he said.

Cross-posted from Blog Briefing Room.