Moderate Dems to oppose Shelby’s finance bill

Moderate Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee are planning to oppose Chairman Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) financial regulatory proposal during Thursday’s markup, dealing the sweeping plan an early and significant blow.

Sources close to Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) each said that the four moderate members of the panel are planning to vote against Shelby’s proposal.

A spokesperson for Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), another of the panel’s moderates, did not respond to requests for comment.

The moderates’ opposition signals that the Senate Banking Committee will likely approve his bill on a party-line vote.

But it also means that Shelby will have a hard time clearing a 60-vote procedural hurdle he’ll need if he wants to get a vote on the Senate floor.

Banking Committee aides have suggested that they could attempt to move portions of the bill through the appropriations process.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, introduced legislation with all of the panel’s Democrats as co-sponsors. Their bill is a stripped version of Shelby’s bill that seeks to provide regulatory relief to small banks while expanding the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“We cannot let a lack of consensus on some issues deter us from passing targeted, bipartisan policies that best support community banks and credit unions which the president could sign immediately,” Heitkamp said in a statement.

Shelby’s bill is the most aggressive financial regulatory overhaul proposal since the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. It would ease regulations on smaller banks and credit unions, while also seeking to make structural changes at the Federal Reserve to increase transparency.

The committee has bickered along partisan lines throughout the negotiation process, with Republicans expressing frustration that Brown did not engage in negotiations despite their repeated efforts.

Democrats say Shelby didn’t attempt to work with all of the Democrats on the panel. Shelby aides have argued that they were following committee structure in which the chairman negotiates with the ranking member.

Democrats have already attacked Shelby’s bill, with the White House dubbing it “worrisome,” Brown calling it an effort to “dismantle” parts of Dodd-Frank and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Tuesday describing it as a Trojan horse designed to roll back financial regulations.

Tags Bob Menendez Heidi Heitkamp Hillary Clinton Joe Donnelly Jon Tester Mark Warner Sherrod Brown

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