Sunday, April 25, 2010

AFP: Republicans warn of delay on financial overhaul

(AFP) – April 25, 2010

WASHINGTON — US Democrats said Sunday they were closing in on a deal on the most sweeping financial overhaul in decades but Republicans held out ahead of a showdown vote on Monday.

The key Republican negotiator on the financial overhaul bill, Senator Richard Shelby, said he was not optimistic there would be an agreement before the vote.

"Will we get a bill tomorrow?" he asked on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I doubt it."

The showdown comes just days after President Barack Obama went to Wall Street and warned of future financial meltdowns unless Congress passes major regulatory reforms.

Democrats and their two independent allies control 59 Senate seats but need at least one Republican vote to overcome delaying tactics the opposition party could use to kill the legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed confidence that Republicans would have all 41 votes needed to delay start of debate on the measure.

But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insisted Republicans would eventually come around to support the Obama administration's "strong" bill.

"I'm very confident," he told CNN's "State of the Union."

"I think we're going to have very strong support from Republicans for a strong bill... Nobody wants, you know, after a crisis that caused, you know, eight million people to lose their jobs, this degree of pain and suffering."

The main sticking point in what McConnell decried as a "partisan" bill was a 50-billion-dollar fund to wind down failing firms.

Republicans say the fund would lead to endless bailouts, a charge Obama's administration has repeatedly denied.

"It's better not to pre-fund, no matter how you fund it, whether it's a tax on banks or whatever it is, a fund that creates expectation it will be used," McConnell told "Fox News Sunday."

"What we need to do is make it virtually, if not impossible, to be too big to fail. The way you do that is enhanced capital requirements."

Although McConnell vowed to uphold the Republican filibuster, both Shelby and Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, said they were close to clinching a deal as they pursued talks on how to address troubled financial institutions without resorting to taxpayer-funded bailouts.

"We're getting there, we're close," Dodd said on NBC. "I think Richard and I have a pretty good understanding of where we are on the bill."

Shelby said both sides were "closer than we've ever been," noting that only "two or three" issues remained to be resolved.

AFP: Republicans warn of delay on financial overhaul

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