Financial Regulatory Forum

Bernanke confirmation shakier as more Democrats defect

By Thomas Ferraro and Pedro da Costa

WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Ben Bernanke’s nomination for a second term as U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, once seen a sure thing, appeared increasingly under threat on Friday after two Senate Democrats said they would vote against it.

“I believe there will be the votes to confirm him, but it’s going to be very close,” a senior Democratic leadership aide said.

With the U.S. job market in disarray, voters angry at Wall Street firms and members of Congress worried about their re-election in November, the Fed and its chairman have become targets for discontent.

Senators Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold brought the total of known ‘no’ votes among the Democratic majority to four, while many others have said they were undecided.

Several Republicans also oppose him and some senators have moved to block his confirmation, forcing Senate leaders to secure a super-majority of 60 vote in the 100-member chamber to move the nomination.

EXCLUSIVE-Bank cop reworked in Senate financial bill-sources

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The beat walked by a proposed super-cop for banks is shrinking in the latest financial regulation reforms being debated in the U.S. Senate, said sources familiar with committee negotiations on Thursday.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd has called for the formation of a Financial Institutions Regulatory Administration (FIRA) to replace a current patchwork system that includes four bank supervisors in Washington.

But Dodd and other lawmakers, seeking compromise on this and other issues, are revising the FIRA proposal, said sources who asked not to be named because negotiations continue.

ANALYSIS – Change in Senate sharpens U.S. regulatory reform fight

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – The financial regulation debate is set to get more divisive after Massachusetts voters elected a Republican senator, with Democrats and Republicans both trying to tap Americans’ deep anger over the economy.

Ahead of November’s congressional elections, look for Democrats to double-down on their attacks against banks and Wall Street bonuses, with Republicans standing firm on a strategy of opposition and delay, supported by banks.

In the long run, the arithmetic of the Senate will push the Democrats toward compromise, while voter resentment over the power and privilege of Wall Street will force Republicans and business interests to yield to reforms, some significant.

INTERVIEW-Watchdog’s fate in U.S. Senate key to financial reform

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Jan 18 (Reuters) – The tag on U.S. financial regulation reform may as well say “Made on Wall Street” if bank lobbyists manage to gut the Obama administration’s proposed consumer watchdog agency,  Elizabeth Warren said.

The head of a panel monitoring the government’s bank bailout program, Warren is a Harvard Law School professor and a fierce critic of the banking industry. She is also rumored to be front-runner to become the first chief of President Barack Obama’s proposed U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

The CFPA would be a new government regulator devoted to shielding Americans from financial rip-offs like the abusive subprime mortgages at the core of the 2008 financial crisis, and the prolonged recession and bank bailouts that followed.

Special bankruptcy court for banks mulled in U.S. Senate

By Rachelle Younglai

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Key U.S. senators are considering the creation of a special bankruptcy court for troubled financial services firms, a person familiar with the plans said on Monday.

Senate Banking Committee members are trying to toughen up parts of a draft bill that overhauls how the financial system is supervised. The draft, introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, would create a system to unwind troubled financial firms.

But members of the committee want a more specific and tougher regime to deal with troubled financial firms after the federal government used billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to prop up firms like Bank of America.

U.S. seen extending homebuyer tax credit soon

A vacant lot owned by Toll Brothers is shown for sale in a housing development in Broomfield, Colorado August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)  By Steve Holland and Corbett B. Daly
WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate is expected to act later this week to extend a popular tax credit for first-time homebuyers that is scheduled to expire at the end of next month, Sen. Bill Nelson said on Monday.