Do You Like to Whip It?

WhipREP The long awaited House-Senate Financial Reform Conference Committee got underway this week. Thanks to the efforts of Public Citizen, Campaign for America's Future, CMD and others, these committee meetings will be live on C-Span 3, and all amendments will be made available in advance. At BanksterUSA we are working hard to make sure that the strong derivatives language currently in the Senate version of the bill is not weakened (Sec. 716 authored by Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas). We are keeping a whip count on the conferees and we could use your help! A whip count helps us pool intelligence on what the members are saying to their constituents. If you make a call you can post a comment to our whip list letting us know what you heard. It is grassroots activism at its best.

The good news is, we have made huge gains in recent days! We helped organize a press conference with Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on the issue that got huge press. Listen to the audio here. Then three regional Federal Reserve presidents came out in support of the Lincoln derivatives language going up against Big Ben Bernanke, who is against. Plus, Banking Chair Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) has moved from being opposed to saying that Senator Lincoln is “on the right track.” Take a look at our ever-changing whip list and make a call today to a committee member in your state or to Banking Committee Chair Dodd, or House Finance Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-Mass).

The bad news is that yesterday, conferees voted to strip new conflict-of-interest rules for credit rating agencies out of the bill, provisions authored by freshman Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota). Your remember the credit rating agencies. They gave packages of toxic mortgages a AAA rating inflating the crisis. His conflict-of-interest provisions were relegated to a study, but also a mandate that regulators take action on the issue in the future. Franken said he could live with the compromise. Today, they take up the Federal Reserve audit. Stay tuned. Audit champion Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is looking very unhappy right now.

For the bank wonks in the audience, the draft schedule is below.

Thursday, June 17: Systemic risk regulation, resolution authority and
payments/clearing/settlement issues.
Tuesday, June 22: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, predatory
lending, remittances, interchange fee and access issues.
Wednesday, June 23: Prudential regulation.
Thursday, June 24: Derivatives regulation.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.


I am afraid that our economy's prognosis is not good unless significant changes are made to this bill." The House and the Senate will spend the next several weeks reconciling their versions of a financial reform bill.

This Financial Reform Bill is long overdue I hope congress can get their act together and pass this bill.