Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said this morning that his newly-proposed legislation to rewrite federal financial regulations, coming a year and a half after the excesses of Wall Street drove the U.S. economy near the precipice, would prevent the recurrence of banks being "too big to fail."
"Absolutely, that's a major provision of the bill," Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, told CBS "Early Show" anchor Harry Smith. "It's two years ago today that Bear Stearns was unraveling, and six months later it was Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008. We've had countless hearings, meetings with all the various people and stakeholders, and one of the provisions that we have almost unanimous support on in the committee -- thanks to people like Mark Warner and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who spent a lot of time on this issue -- we will stop forever the notion that you're so big as a company that you have that implicit guarantee that the federal taxpayers or the government will bail you out. That will end with this bill."
Despite the bill's broad scope -- weighing in at about 1,000 pages and covering areas as diverse as executive compensation, the Federal Reserve, the liquidation of large companies and storefront loan operations -- Dodd was confident that the complete bill can be passed.
"I think we can get it through. Again, Dick Shelby, the Republican ranking member of the committee, the former chairman of the committee -- and I appreciate his comments -- said we're about 80%, 85%, 90% together on this bill that I proposed yesterday. That would be a little high, frankly, but nonetheless, we're close to getting a lot of agreement on a lot of [what's in] this bill.
"There are a couple of areas where there's controversy," Dodd said. "The consumer protection area, there's a lot of controversy around that -- regrettably, I might add. And there's some controversy around what they call the corporate governance issues as well. But aside from those two areas, we have a lot of agreement on what's in this bill."
By way of signing off, Senator Dodd also bade Harry Smith well for his colonoscopy effort. "I've been through it every three years and I applaud you for it, Harry. It's a good thing to do. I think I'm going through it right now with this financial reform bill!"