Financial Reform Takes Center Stage in Senate

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Financial Reform Takes Center Stage in Senate

The Hill – Senate Democrats embark Monday on a seven-week effort to hammer out differences on a financial overhaul bill that they aim to pass before Memorial Day.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have redoubled their efforts to overhaul the financial system following the passage of healthcare legislation this year. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is shepherding the bill through the upper chamber, but few lawmakers off his panel have focused closely on the legislation.

Democrats need to win over at least one Republican to break a possible filibuster. Senate Republicans opposed Dodd's bill during committee markup, but the two parties are still negotiating the details of the bill in an effort to have bipartisan support, aides say.

Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) will unveil legislation to regulate the derivatives market that will need to be meshed with Dodd's bill. The Agriculture panel oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which would gain new oversight over the market.

Senior administration officials told reporters on Wednesday they would fight any efforts to weaken the bill, mentioning possible exemptions to consumer regulations for auto dealers and exemptions from new rules in the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market.

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