Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said Tuesday that he continues to hope for a strong bipartisan regulatory reform bill, but he offered no fresh details on developments in negotiations.
After meeting behind closed doors with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the Connecticut Democrat said the talks remained positive but complicated. He also implied he is no closer to agreeing with the panel's top GOP member, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, whose support could help pave the way for a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate. "Whether or not we can get together on a strong bill with strong bipartisan support — I'd like to get there if I can," Dodd told reporters. "I'm still hopeful we can. It's as hard a thing as I've ever been engaged in. It's terribly complicated."
For his part, Corker said, "We continue to narrow the number of issues."
Several sources said Tuesday that the lawmakers were close to agreeing to create a $50 billion fund that would be used to handle resolutions of systemically important companies. Like a similar provision in the House bill, the largest institutions would be assessed premiums to create the fund. Still, sources said negotiations remain ongoing and the provision could change.
About Shelby, Dodd said, "I'm not going to make phone calls every day. They know where to find me." Dodd said he is still reaching out to panel members. "I'm constantly talking to people, but the sound of one hand clapping doesn't make a lot of noise."
Dodd faces problems on the left and right. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a committee member, said he remains concerned about putting a consumer division under the Federal Reserve Board.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, another committee member, said he has concerns about rumors the Fed would retain oversight of financial companies with $100 billion of assets or more. "The question is, would the Fed only have jurisdiction over the large institutions, which creates a problem of sort of defining 'too big to fail,' " he said. "Until I know the details of what exactly it is we are talking about, I'm not signed off."