McConnell: “Serious talks” underway on bipartisan Wall Street reform bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says there are "serious talks" underway between both parties on Wall Street reform.

(AP) Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd is rejecting a move to include a bank tax to the financial overhaul bill.


The tax could make it harder to get Republican support for the legislation at a time when GOP senators appear to be softening their opposition to the bill.


Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he is convinced Democrats are serious about the overhaul and aren't "just trying to score political points."


GOP leaders are praising the bipartisan negotiations. Dodd and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby, have met twice this week. Shelby says he believes there will be a bipartisan bill.


The tax would target financial institutions that benefited from the Wall Street bailout. Some Democrats see the tax as a way to help pay for their jobs program and other election-year initiatives.


McConnell made the following speech on the Senate floor earlier today.


Here is text of his speech for the hearing impaired.


"From the beginning of this debate, I've called for a bipartisan approach.  And for several months, I was encouraged to see bipartisan talks approaching agreement on a bipartisan bill.


"Somewhere along the line, those talks got off course, leading to Democrats pulling away from bipartisan efforts, a party-line vote in committee and the Democrat leadership's stated desire to bring a bill to the floor that has bipartisan opposition. So last week I raised concerns with the Dodd bill, but I also told the President and our friends across the aisle that this bill is not unfixable.


"It is important for the country and taxpayer that we get this right, that we put them before politics.  That's why I was disappointed to read that Senate Democrats are refusing to drop the $50 billion bailout fund-a fund that the Treasury Secretary himself opposes-unless Republicans pay a price for taking it out. This is exactly what Americans don't like about Washington: when one side tries to 'get' something for doing what they should have done in the first place.  If everyone agrees it should be dropped, then it should be dropped.  And if Senate Democrats think it should stay, then they should explain why they think the Treasury Secretary was wrong when he said that this bailout fund 'would create expectations that the government would step in to protect shareholders and creditors from losses.'


"Both sides have expressed a willingness to make the changes needed to ensure without any doubt that this bill won't put taxpayers on the hook for future bailouts of Wall Street banks. Let's just do that.


"I'm heartened to hear that bipartisan talks have resumed in earnest. And in my view, the progress we've seen over the past few days is proof that I was right to raise concerns about this bill when I did. As I said, the best way to get a bill with the credibility of bipartisan support is to allow bipartisan talks to continue.  Let's fix the bill and have a bipartisan reform."



Here are some of the latest headlines.

McConnell Strikes More Conciliatory Tone on Financial Reform

By David M. Drucker
Roll Call Staff

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he expects the financial regulatory reform package to hit the floor this week or early next week, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed newfound optimism that the bill might enjoy bipartisan support.


McConnell was noticeably less combative than he had been in recent days. He credited his change in outlook to an update on negotiations that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and chief GOP negotiator on the bill, delivered to the minority Conference during Tuesday’s weekly caucus lunch.

Read more on Roll Call


McConnell pivots to compromise on financial reform


Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared a small win on financial reform Tuesday, claiming a letter signed by the 41 Republicans last week "worked" and brought GOP senators back to the bill's negotiating table.

Democrats dismissed his claim, saying talks with the GOP never actually ended. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) went so far as to ask "where has the leader been" to think that discussions just now have begun.

"It never stopped. Listen to some people talk about taking credit, it’s like the rooster taking credit for the morning. This has been ongoing for people following this thing," Dodd said. "Welcome to the discussion.” 

McConnell, however, is trying to frame his maneuvering as getting the bill back on track.

Read more on Politico



McConnell: 'Serious talks' underway on bipartisan Wall St. reform bill

By Michael O'Brien - 04/20/10 03:22 PM ET

There are "serious talks" back underway between senators in both parties on Wall Street reform, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

McConnell said that the letter all 41 GOP senators had signed pledging a filibuster of financial regulatory reform legislation had forced Democrats back to the negotiating table to try to strike a deal.

"What happened as a result of the 41 letter is that serious talks have resumed," McConnell said. "We had a chance to get a report from Senator Shelby and others at lunch today, and I'm convinced now that there is a new element of seriousness attached to this, rather than just trying to score political points."

McConnell made those remarks, though, shortly before Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) took to the Senate floor to castigate the GOP for its potential blocking of a motion to proceed on the legislation, which Dodd had authored.

But the partisan barbs were not gone entirely from McConnell's post-luncheon remarks, in which he said it was a "fact" that the White House pulled Dodd and other Democrats away from negotiations on a bipartisan bill.

Dodd has emphatically denied that charge.

Read more political news on The Hill




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