Dodd Blasts Republican Opposition to Financial Reform Bill

Posted April 14, 2010 at 11:03am

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) blasted Republican resistance to his financial regulatory reform bill Wednesday, calling GOP talking points “poppycock” and daring the minority to oppose the measure.

“My patience is running out. I’ve extended the hand, I’ve written provisions in this bill to accommodate various interests, but I’m not going to continue doing this if all I’m getting from the other side is a suggestion somehow that this is a partisan effort,” Dodd said in lengthy floor remarks.

Dodd held up a memo from Republican strategist Frank Luntz detailing GOP messaging on the issue, which advised Members: “The single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.”

“Now, I don’t expect Frank Luntz to care about the truth,” Dodd said. “I don’t expect the bank lobbyists and the special interests to care about the truth. But the American people deserve better from us.”

Dodd’s comments came just as House and Senate leaders were sitting down with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss financial regulatory reform, an issue that has been percolating since the Wall Street meltdown in 2008 and which is poised to pass the Senate floor by Memorial Day. Just before the bipartisan and bicameral meeting, Obama told reporters, “I am actually confident that we can work out an effective bipartisan package.”

After Dodd left the floor, Democratic Sens. Ted Kaufman (Del.) and Mark Warner (Va.) each stood to challenge Republican criticism of the Banking panel’s bill.

While Dodd and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Banking panel, continue to meet to attempt to strike a bipartisan deal, Republicans on Tuesday signaled they were not inclined to support such a measure and further criticized White House officials for trying to ram a partisan bill through the chamber.

In his morning floor statement Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continued that message.

“Unfortunately, the administration is evidently more interested in using this debate as a political issue than actually addressing on a bipartisan basis the many weaknesses that are currently built into our economy,” McConnell said.

McConnell will meet with the Republican caucus later Wednesday to discuss financial reform.