Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said an “awful lot” of Republicans want to support his financial overhaul bill and are being hamstrung by Senate Republican leaders.
“I have an awful lot of Republicans who are willing,” Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “The question is whether the leadership will allow them to do it.”
All 41 Republicans last week signed a letter pledging to oppose the legislation as it was passed by Dodd’s committee last month. Democrats and Republicans are continuing negotiations over the measure, including whether to drop a $50 billion industry-supported fund the government would use to break apart failed systemically important firms.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has met with Republicans, including Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, over the last week to gain their support for the bill.
Dodd met yesterday with Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the banking panel’s top Republican, to try to reach a bipartisan deal on the legislation, an Obama administration priority aimed at responding to the financial crisis.
“They’re good conversations,” Dodd said, without saying whether the senators are close to an agreement.
Dodd said he plans to retain a provision that would take away the Federal Reserve’s authority to oversee small banks and give it to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which also oversees small banks. The proposal is opposed by small banks and regional Fed banks, most of which would supervise no firms or just a few.
“The idea of having duplicated, overlapping jurisdictions is an antiquated idea, Dodd said. “The Fed needs to get back to its core functions.”