Chambliss, GOP lose a round in financial reform fight

Republicans led by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss lost a key round in the political fight over financial reform Wednesday, says my AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington.

But Chambliss and other key GOP lawmakers nonetheless say they’re more optimistic than ever about a sweeping bipartisan bill that could come to a vote in Congress within the next week.

“We’ve narrowed it down to a limited number of areas where we disagree, and we’re going to work very hard to try and see if we can bridge the gap between us … and get a good bill,” said Chambliss, Georgia’s senior senator.

The Senate agriculture committee on Wednesday passed a bill from Democratic Chairman Blanche Lincoln that would impose strict new rules on derivatives, the risky financial instruments that were at the epicenter of last year’s financial industry meltdown.

In doing so, the committee voted against a less-strict version proposed by Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the committee. One Republican, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, voted for the Democrat’s version.

The derivatives bill is expected to be folded into the bigger Restoring American Financial Stability Act making its way through the Senate.

Despite the Republican set back, Chambliss said the committee’s negotiations showed “there’s a bipartisan spirit” now surrounding the banking legislation.

That’s a major shift from just a few days ago, when Chambliss, Georgia colleague Johnny Isakson and all 39 other Senate Republicans signed a letter denouncing the financial reform legislation proposed by congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama, setting the tone for what some had feared would a highly partisan battle akin to that over health care reform.

Obama is scheduled to travel to New York on Thursday to give a speech pushing for the speedy passage of financial industry reform.

“We’re making more progress and I’m more optimistic than I’ve ever been” about a bipartisan bill, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate banking committee, said at a press conference with Chambliss.

Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison indicated Congress may be getting the message that Americans want results, not bipartisan bickering like that which characterized the health care reform legislation.

“This is the way that I think legislation should be approached, rather than all partisan and heavy-handed,” she said. “America doesn’t like it and it’s not right for Congress either.”

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7 comments Add your comment

JL

April 21st, 2010
8:07 pm

But Chambliss and other key GOP lawmakers nonetheless say they’re more optimistic than ever about a sweeping bipartisan bill that could come to a vote in Congress within the next week.
HaHaHaHaHa…
Only in Congress can the Republicans state that a bill doing away with bailouts is bailing out. They got caught this time though. .
In this case it doesn’t matter because we all benefit.

Byron Mathison Kerr

April 21st, 2010
9:32 pm

That’s a major shift from just a few days ago, when Chambliss, Georgia colleague Johnny Isakson and all 39 other Senate Republicans signed a letter denouncing the financial reform legislation…

It sure is! And there’s no explanation as to why. Would I be cynical or merely realistic to believe there’s a hidden agenda?

It’s things like this that keep me convinced Congressional leaders are basically disingenuous — especially the Republicans, at this point in time.

All I want is for Congress to put the necessary regulations in place to keep high finance from becoming a double entendre and causing all this horrendous mess all over again.

????

April 22nd, 2010
6:42 am

Does Saxby have to give the money back to the Wall Street Lobbyist since he failed them? This is good legislation for the taxpayer and bad for the Lobbyist.

Truth

April 22nd, 2010
7:19 am

Looks like Saxby is better at golf than passing legislation. Good thing for the taxpayer.

Debra

April 22nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison lost her bid for Gov for this very reason…..SHE JUST DOESN’T GET IT.

Sissy Saxby

April 23rd, 2010
1:43 pm

Saxby stands tall for the derivatives traders.

Lola

April 25th, 2010
9:44 am

Further evidence that Saxby Chambliss MUST GO! Remember he barely got back in but people didn’t have the courage to do the right thing. This time he won’t be as LUCKY. Pink Slip on the way! Thanks for exposing to your constituency who you REALLY represent. We’ve known all along….nothing NEW, more from the Party of NO! WE THE PEOPLE will speak loud and clear. However “mission accomplished” will be FOR REAL in November.