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Mar 18, 2011

White House vetting Senate aide for CFTC spot: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is considering nominating Mark Wetjen, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for a top job at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, The Financial Times reported on Friday.

Democrat Michael Dunn’s term as a CFTC commissioner ends in June. The time is crucial because the CFTC is trying to finalize more than 40 detailed regulations implementing 2010′s Dodd-Frank over-the-counter derivatives reforms.

Mar 16, 2011

Consumer watchdog badgered by US House Republicans

WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans
hammered away at a U.S. consumer watchdog agency they have
opposed since its creation last year, criticizing its budget
autonomy and scope of authority at a hearing on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who is
leading the formation of the new agency, defended its mission
to protect consumers from predatory financial practices as
mandated under the Dodd-Frank reforms.

Mar 15, 2011

Challenges to Dodd-Frank surface in U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, March 15 (Reuters) – The first targeted
legislative challenges to 2010′s Dodd-Frank financial
regulation reforms are emerging in the U.S. Congress, with
nine senators introducing a bipartisan bill on Tuesday to
delay a proposed cap on debit card interchange fees.

The cap, proposed by the Federal Reserve as required under
Dodd-Frank, threatens the profits of card networks Visa (V.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
and Mastercard (MA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), as well as big banks such as Citigroup
(C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Mar 15, 2011

Republicans mount first Dodd-Frank challenge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans on Wednesday will stage their first outright challenge to 2010′s Dodd-Frank financial regulation reforms with a fistful of bills favoring private equity firms, derivatives end-users and corporate CEOs.

After months of trying to defund and defang Dodd-Frank at the administrative level, Republicans are finally unveiling draft legislation that would repeal or amend parts of the laws approved after the severe 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Mar 11, 2011

Congress eyes flood insurance fix as tsunami nears

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As a tsunami bore down on the western United States, a congressional panel explored ways to fix the broken National Flood Insurance Program, which covers more than 5.6 million U.S. property owners.

Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the NFIP has been nearly $18 billion in debt. Critics complain that it subsidizes people who live and build in dangerous and environmentally sensitive flood zones from the coasts to the Midwest.

Mar 11, 2011

SEC head regrets handling of ex-lawyer’s Madoff ties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said she wished the SEC’s former top lawyer had removed himself from the agency’s work on the epic Bernard Madoff fraud.

In an affair that is undermining the agency’s pleas for more funding, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro told a congressional panel that, in hindsight, former SEC General Counsel David Becker’s Madoff ties should have been handled differently.

Mar 10, 2011

US Sen Durbin blasts card firms, banks on debit fees

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) – Richard Durbin, the No. 2
Democrat in the U.S. Senate, on Thursday lashed out at debit
card networks and big banks that he said are working to delay
and gut rules he wrote to slash debit card fees.

“It’s one of the most active lobbying efforts I’ve ever
seen,” said Durbin, of Illinois, on the Senate floor.

Mar 10, 2011

Madoff stumble complicates SEC’s money pitch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New missteps in response to the epic fraud of Bernard Madoff threatened to undermine the Securities and Exchange Commission’s pitch for more money before a trio of congressional committees on Thursday.

A key senator called for a quick probe into why the SEC’s former top lawyer was allowed to advise the agency on the Madoff case while having personal ties to the massive fraud.

Mar 9, 2011

Congress wades into flood insurance overhaul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congress is pulling on its hip waders again to try to rescue a government policy wreck left over from 2005′s Hurricane Katrina.

The National Flood Insurance Program, badly damaged by the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history as well as long neglect, has defied attempts at reform for five years.

Mar 3, 2011

GOP to relaunch flood insurance overhaul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Draft legislation to overhaul the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program will be unveiled next week, said the Republican chairman of a congressional insurance oversight panel on Thursday.

Representative Judy Biggert told Reuters she will present the draft on March 11 at a hearing of the House insurance subcommittee she chairs, kicking off what could be a lengthy debate on a deeply troubled government program.