Though currently shadowed by healthcare reform efforts that have dominated the congressional schedule this fall, the push to enact a financial regulatory overhaul has been making steady progress in Congress.
Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stated his sense that reform efforts are “actually making a lot of progress,” and that there is “quite a lot of consensus on the core elements.”
Secretary Geithner’s optimism comes as key congressional committees – the House Financial Services Committee, led by Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) – have intensified their focus on financial reform in recent weeks.
The Financial Services Committee has begun making its way through an ambitious schedule of hearings and markups, the latest of which occurred yesterday. The hearing focused on the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) – a core element of the Obama Administration’s financial reform framework that Chairman Frank recently tweaked, as previously reported here.
In addition to these tangible pieces of progress, some have begun to speculate that the political climate is giving overhaul efforts a boost. Despite the crowded legislative calendar and reports that legislation may not be finalized until next year, some believe that finding common ground with moderate Democrats and possibly even Republicans on financial reform could ultimately be easier than healthcare or climate change efforts.