Progressives Drive Hard Bargain On Wall Street Bill

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Progressives Drive Hard Bargain On Wall Street Bill

Talking Points Memo – At just about every stage of the Senate financial reform process, the changes to the bill have trended towards the left–and that may well be borne out again if Democrats successfully add provision to the bill that will, among other things, ban big banks from using their own capital to engage in market speculation.

The provision is called the Volcker Rule–named after former Fed Chair Paul Volcker who now heads the President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Currently, two Democratic senators–Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR)–are pushing to add the rule to the Wall Street reform legislation and have built up quite a head of steam. That development was not a sure thing even a few days ago but with the political climate so anti-Wall Street even progressives' failures can turn into successes, which is what sort of happened with the Volcker Rule.

Last week, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ted Kauffman (D-DE) pushed hard to get their very progressive 'too big to fail' amendment passed. Even though it failed it helped pave the way to enshrining the Volcker rule in the bill.

"I think we will have had a positive effect on the bill," says a Democratic aide, adding that Brown and Kaufman's efforts to shrink 'too big to fail' institutions built momentum for the Volker proposal.

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