Following the collapse of bipartisan talks in the Senate Banking Committee to draft financial regulatory reform legislation, staffers for Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the committee’s ranking Republican, said the senator will be introducing his own plan, according to a Feb. 18 Bloomberg News story.
Committee Chair Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is reported to be moving forward with his own version of a regulatory reform bill, but he is trying to maintain a level of bipartisanship by working closely with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Shelby’s plan likely will aim to create a consumer protection unit within a new bank regulator instead of a standalone agency. It also would shield taxpayers from costs of unwinding systemically important failed financial firms, said aides who spoke with Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity. Dodd has been adamant that new legislation include a standalone consumer protection agency , which is a position both President Obama and the House of Representatives agree with, according to Bloomberg.
The House voted in December to pass a version of a financial-regulatory overhaul bill that includes a standalone consumer agency.
Yet as the Senate works to strengthen oversight of Wall Street following massive government bailouts tied to poor oversight, Shelby believes that creating a separate consumer protection unit may be too extreme. According to his aides, the senator is seeking input from other Republican committee members on a unified approach for an alternative regulatory reform bill. While details remain vague, there should be areas in which Democrats and Republicans agree.
For instance, the idea of creating a consolidated bank regulator has been supported by both Dodd and Shelby, who are in favor of eliminating the Office of Thrift Supervision and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The two offices’ powers, along with the bank-supervision powers of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., would be moved to the new agency, according to Bloomberg.
So far, no timetable has been set for when Shelby will issue his party’s financial regulatory reform legislation.