As President Obama renewed his push for financial services regulatory reform during yesterday’s speech on Wall Street, new reports offered a glimpse of Congress’ potential timeline for action.
It is widely expected that the House Financial Services Committee will act first, given that it is farther along in the legislative process than its Senate counterpart – the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. This is largely attributed to the fact that Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) spent the summer months wholly consumed with advancing healthcare reform legislation on behalf of his ailing friend, the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA).
Industry insiders predict that House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) will continue to hold hearings in September, mark up legislation in October, and bring a bill to the House floor by the end of November. The path of financial regulatory reform through the Senate is less clear, particularly when taking into account that bipartisan support will likely be needed in order to produce the 60 votes necessary for the measure to pass.
In addition, some acknowledge that the already-crowded legislative calendar – which includes the completion of the annual appropriations process, Senate consideration of climate change legislation, and the intense push to enact healthcare reform – may hinder the passage of a large, single piece of financial regulatory reform legislation. Instead, reform may occur piecemeal, through the consideration of smaller portions of the Obama Administration’s overhaul plan.