It's not clear to whether Senate Banking chairman Chris Dodd simply lost his patience or was told by his Democratic brethren to end the fruitless attempt to negotiate with Republicans over financial regulatory reform.
It doesn't matter. The important thing is that Dodd finally called it quits and announced on Thursday that he will unveil his own bill on Monday without any Republican support.
If that means there is no financial reform this year, because Republicans block it by filibuster, it will be a setback for much-needed fixes to catastrophically broken system of regulation.
But the way things were going, this bill would have been worse than no bill. There comes a time when you need to tell the obstructionists to put up or shut up. As in health care reform, Democrats bent over backwards to lure Republican support for regulatory overhaul.
I was on the road and essentially off-line all day yesterday, so forgive me for being late to comment on Senator Chris Dodd’s newest and most bizarre proposal for some kind of consumer financial protection agency.
In his third bid in as many days to win over a few token Republicans, the Senate Banking chairman is now proposing to create an enfeebled new consumer regulator inside the Federal Reserve.
Say what???? This is the same Chris Dodd who, four months ago, accused the Fed of being “an abysmal failure” as a regulator and unveiled a bill that would have stripped it of virtually all its supervisory powers.
"Over the last number of years when [the Fed] took on consumer-protection responsibility and regulation of bank holding companies, it was an abysmal failure," Dodd declared at a press conference in November 9.
Senate Banking chairman Chris Dodd is circulating his new compromise plan for a consumer financial regulator. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both summarized the proposal last night, but here is a copy of Dodd's still-rough outline.
As compromises go, it could be worse. It drops the idea of a stand-alone agency that would be devoted entirely to consumer financial regulation, a cornerstone of the White House financial overhaul and of the House-passed bill. Instead, it would create a "Bureau of Financial Protection" within the Treasury. Its director would be selected by the President, rather than the Treasury secretary, and it would have its own budget.