WASHINGTON – Republican Senator Richard Shelby said on Monday he believed all 41 Republican senators would vote against launching floor debate on a financial reform and try instead to negotiate changes to it.
Shelby, speaking at a meeting of the Independent Community Bankers Association, said Republicans had a better chance of getting strengthening provisions aimed at preventing future bank bailouts if they can halt it from being considered by the full Senate, where Democrats have the majority.
"If we hang together on the floor, we can create critical mass," Shelby said, adding that Republican negotiating power is stronger before the measure goes to the Senate floor. "If we just pass a bill in the Senate and go straight to conference with the house, what have we accomplished?"
Shelby said he and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, are "conceptually very close" to a deal on the pending bill but that Shelby is pushing to "tighten up some language."
He said the changes he wants focus on three key areas: the particulars of a proposed regulator to protect consumers against lending abuses; the details of new government powers to wind down large, troubled firms without using taxpayer money; and measures to establish oversight of the sprawling and largely opaque market for financial derivatives.
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