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Feb 17, 2011

Fight over Dodd-Frank headlines Senate panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans will escalate their push to delay and defund the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms on Thursday as top regulators appear before the Senate Banking Committee with a new chairman presiding.

Replacing Christopher Dodd, Democrat Tim Johnson will lead his first committee hearing amid calls by Republicans for a slow-down in Dodd-Frank implementation and an attempt in the House to cut funding for a new consumer watchdog.

Feb 15, 2011

US lawmakers target big bank dividend increases

, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Seven U.S.
Democratic lawmakers expressed concern on Tuesday that big
banks, some of which are still benefiting from government
financial support, plan to boost their dividends and reduce
capital.

“It seems hard to justify reducing the capital of banks
without considering the continued government support that banks
with outstanding guarantees enjoy,” the lawmakers said in a
letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Feb 14, 2011

Obama holds line on Social Security in budget plan

WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Social Security would not
change significantly under President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget
plan, leaving for later a fiscal reckoning on the massive U.S.
pension program for the elderly and disabled.

Saying he wants to work with Congress, Obama offered
general principles for reform reflecting Democrats’ long-held
commitment to defend the politically popular program, but he
offered no new proposals to secure its long-term stability.

Feb 10, 2011

Rep Frank vows fight over GOP attack on Dodd-Frank

WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Democrats will resist
Republican attempts to weaken Dodd-Frank financial reforms
through underfunding key U.S. regulatory agencies,
Representative Barney Frank told Reuters on Thursday.

“We intend to make a fight,” Frank, senior Democrat on the
House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview as
House Republicans agreed to pursue deep government spending
cuts in the name of combating the soaring budget deficit.

Feb 9, 2011

Big insurers ask Geithner for Dodd-Frank slowdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Major insurance companies are asking U.S. regulators to put the brakes on applying a key part of last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reforms to their industry, according to a letter obtained on Wednesday.

The insurers want action deferred on a rule that could subject them to tighter oversight. The rule has to do with financial firms judged to be so large and interconnected that their stability is important to the overall economy.

Feb 7, 2011

Senate memo shows hard road for Dodd-Frank foes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The steep uphill climb faced by Republicans in trying to roll back last year’s Dodd-Frank law was made clear on Monday by a memo from the Senate Banking Committee pledging to protect financial reforms.

The agenda memo, obtained by Reuters, showed the Senate committee, still under the control of Democrats, will examine much the same issues being targeted by its counterpart panel in the Republican-controlled House — but with different goals.

Feb 6, 2011

Deposit insurance costs climbing for big banks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mega-banks will have to pay more for U.S. deposit insurance under a new regulation set for final approval on Monday as the government advances a boatload of financial oversight changes.

Other measures to be considered this week include curbing bonus plans at banks that encourage too much risk-taking, and limiting the role of much-maligned credit ratings.

Jan 28, 2011

Bernanke says all but one major firm at risk in 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Twelve of the 13 most important U.S. financial firms were at the brink of failure at the height of the credit crisis in 2008, according to previously undisclosed remarks made by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in November 2009 to an investigative panel.

He told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in a private interview that even the most powerful U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs was among those he feared would topple in a crisis he described as the worst in financial history, even exceeding the Great Depression.

Jan 27, 2011

Ron Paul gloomy on deficit outlook, sees crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A world currency crisis awaits if the U.S. Congress and the White House do not balance the federal budget soon and that appears unlikely, Representative Ron Paul said in an interview on Thursday.

The iconoclastic Texas Republican also told Reuters he expects wide support for a bill he has reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to allow greatly expanded scrutiny of the Federal Reserve by Congress’ investigative wing.

Jan 27, 2011

Split U.S. crisis panel blames Greenspan, Wall Street

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A deeply divided U.S. investigative panel issued a scathing critique of the culture of deregulation championed by Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, saying the government had ample power to avert the financial crisis of 2007-2009 and chose not to use it.

The 10-member Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s final report, released on Thursday, was endorsed only by its six Democratic members, undermining its impact as the post-crisis Dodd-Frank law banking reforms are being implemented.