Financial Reform Bill Senate Conferees

The Hills is reporting the Senate Conferees for the Financial reform bill committee conference have been chosen.

They are:

Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will be joined by committee members Sens. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) will be joined by panel members Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

The House has recommended conferees. They are, with Barney Frank:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Joint Economic Committee and a senior member on the financial panel, be named a conferee alongside the six subcommittee chairs.

The subcommittee chairmen are Democratic Reps. Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Mel Watt (N.C.), Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) and Dennis Moore (Kan.)

Conference Committee - Where Lobbyists Attack Bills after they have passed Congress

As noted many times, lobbyists are swarming capital hill trying to stop financial reform.

Many of you probably don't know of a major kill legislation lobbyist trick in their arsenal tool basket. That trick is to kill amendments, rewrite the bill in conference committee. After a bill has passed both houses, even with some amendments passing in overwhelming majorities, lobbyists can get their chosen representatives as conferees when the House and Senate bill versions are negotiated to rectify the differences between the two versions.

Conferees are House and Senate members, but only about 3 from each congressional body. So, a select group of 6 or 8 can literally change a piece of legislation after it has passed both houses via conference committee. Lobbyists can get their representatives hand picked by Congressional and or Committee leadership and then override the vote of the Congressional majority.

This is where amendments are literally ripped out, per the conferees and one gets a completely different bill than what passed either the House or the Senate body.

Ridiculous huh?

TRADE Act Introduced into Congress

The TRADE Act, or Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act, will soon be introduced in the Senate this session. One of the key elements in this bill, beyond our usual labor and environmental standards is an analysis of the economic impact of each trade agreement on the United States and most importantly it's workforce.

Public Citizen is launching a grassroots campaign to alert the general public of this bill and contact their representatives to get it passed. They have also written up a one page fact sheet.

Here is Lori Wallach with her request for help to get this legislation passed and (finally) signed into law:

Loan Sharks in Three-Piece Suits - Sen. Bernie Sanders, Limit Credit Card Interest Rates

Rely on Senator Bernie Sanders to state the obvious and someone, finally introduces legislation to stop these predatory loan practices:

Sanders Press release Loan Sharks in Three-Piece Suits:

Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce legislation this week to cap interest rates charged by credit card companies that now slap consumers with rates of up to 30 percent. "This is money that comes right out of their hides and it hurts," Sanders told The Burlington Free Press. His legislation would impose 15 percent interest rate ceiling. It also would limit fees. “We are going to introduce a national usury law which will prohibit any financial institution from charging these outrageous rates,” he told Thom Hartmann’s nationally-syndicated radio show. “These loan sharks wear three-piece suits, but they’re not much different than those guys who break people’s knee caps.”

Bail Out Déjà Vu - Experts, Reps Say Stimulus Needs Work, So Why is Congress Ramrodding the Bill?

It's only $875 billion dollars and counting. But don't stop rushing and ramrodding unread or not thoroughly analyzed bills through Congress!

WaPo has some of the dissent.

In testimony before the House Budget Committee yesterday, Alice M. Rivlin, who was President Bill Clinton's budget director, suggested splitting the plan, implementing its immediate stimulus components now and taking more time to plan the longer-term transformative spending to make sure it is done right.

Senator Sanders Trying to Stop the Bail out, Introduces Legislation

Senator Bernie Sanders is introducing legislation to Stop the Bail Out of the rest of the $350 billion dollars that hasn't been given to banks.

Senator Bernie Sanders said today he will introduce legislation to stop the release of a $350-billion second round of the Wall Street bailout. Sanders, who voted against the $700-billion package Congress approved in October, said he has serious concerns about how the Bush administration and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are spending the bailout money that was already released. He also said it was unacceptable that the oversight provisions in the bill were ignored. “I have very serious concerns as to how the Bush administration is spending the first $350 billion they were provided. The second $350 billion tranche must not be spent in the same way,” Sanders said.

Senate Bail Out Bill Text

Attached is the actual Senate Bill. It's 451 pages.

I'll post analysis and update this as I find them.

Still appears to bail out foreign banks. Has a SEC suspension of the mark-to-market rule. I believe people focusing on on this is a smoke screen. The real issue is the pricing of assets and how does that unclog the credit markets?

It's still seemingly paying possibly way too much on worthless assets and on top of it...

The mark-to-market rule is supposed to be in place of the Paulson bill, not with the Paulson bill which implies even more the US taxpayer will pay way too much for these assets.

Either they have the assets be completely transparent if the US taxpayer is on the hook for them OR they allow the banks to muddle the accounting for a moment as a stop gap.

Congress Rejects Bail Out Bill - Fails to Pass House of Representatives

House Rejects Paulson's Bail Out

Onto the Senate, not. Believe this or not, while Democrats have been the primary negotiators on this bill, other Democrats are sending out emails calling this Lipstick on Paulson's Pig, and is the fault of Republicans.

This time....I do not think so!   Proof?

The vote tally was:

  • Democrats   Yea: 141
  • Democrats   Nay: 94
  • Republican  Yea:  64
  • Republican   Nay:  134

Total:   Yea: 205  Nay: 228

A simple majority was needed, which was 218.

Clerk has bill title wrong but how Congress voted is here.

Dept of Ed. to Buy Student Loans?

House Bill to buy student loans:

The action is intended to address a crisis in the market that has forced Citigroup Inc.'s Student Loan Corp., SLM Corp. and about 50 other lenders to stop writing some forms of student loans. The companies cite increased borrowing costs, cuts in government subsidies for education loans and a lack of investor interest in securities backed by loans.

Without government action, demand for federally backed student loans would outstrip supply, industry officials said. About 7 million borrowers will need more than $68 billion in federal loans this academic year, according to Education Department estimates

They claim the issue is a lack of subsidies: