UPDATE 2:45PM: At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Sen. Chris Dodd denied that the political ramifications of reconciliation being used in the health care debate motivated him to push a financial reform bill forward without GOP support.
“The moment has arrived, putting aside reconciliation and everything else, to put down a proposal,” Dodd told reporters. Dodd cited the upcoming midterm elections and the extent to which negotiations have already shaped the bill in asserting that it was simply time to move forward. Dodd plans to unveil the proposal Monday.
“Each week we let it slip a little bit because we thought we could get farther along,” Dodd said of his negotiations with Republican Sen. Corker. “But we’re facing what I call the 101st Senator, and that’s what I call the clock.”
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, announced Thursday morning that he will unveil financial reform legislation Monday without Republican support. Dodd had been working with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., for the past several weeks to produce a consensus reform package.
In a news conference Thursday morning, Corker attributed Dodd’s actions to the fight over health care and reconciliation. Corker said repeatedly that he felt negotiations were on the “5-yard line” and that he still plans to work with Dodd, whom he praised, to achieve a financial reform package that will get bipartisan support in the Senate.
“There has not been a single issue — not one impediment — that we weren’t there….Obviously I’m disappointed,” Corker said. “I know that the elephant in the room is reconciliation and trying to get a bill out of committee before that time.”
In a statement announcing his intention to unveil a bill Monday, Dodd praised Corker for his work.
“It has always been my goal to produce a consensus package. And we have reached a point where bringing the bill to the full committee is the best course of action to achieve that end. I plan to hold a full committee markup the week of March 22nd.”
“I have been fortunate to have a strong partner in Senator Corker, and my new proposal will reflect his input and the good work done by many of our colleagues as well.”
In his remarks Thursday, Corker said there were just a few outstanding areas of contention — citing risk retention, judicial issues and how to regulate derivatives — but that negotiations to resolve them had been moving along, and that he was confident they would have reached consensus had Dodd not decided to move forward on his own.