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Bipartisan financial reform hopes fade

April 14, 2010 at 12:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) -- Chances of a bipartisan effort on financial reform suffered when a top U.S. Senate Republican charged the legislation would maintain Wall Street bailouts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted the financial overhaul bill written by Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., would face "overwhelming" Republican opposition, Politico reported Tuesday.

"I would say all signs we get from the White House is they're not interested in talking, they're not interested in making a deal with us," McConnell told reporters after meeting with his caucus Tuesday. "They want to jam through a totally partisan bill. And if they do that, and it looks like the Dodd bill, it will guarantee perpetual taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks."

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the GOP opposition was based on advice from party strategists advising Republicans to attack President Barack Obama's financial reform plans by calling them "bailouts."

"No matter what the bill actually does, they're going to call it a bailout because that's what the polls tell them to do," Psaki wrote in a WhiteHouse.gov blog. "The Senate bill explicitly mandates that a large financial firm that faces failure will be allowed to fail, and it explicitly prohibits the use of any funds to 'bail out' a failing firm."

Dodd and the committee's ranking Republican, Richard Shelby of Alabama, said they continue to work on a compromise for the regulatory bill, Politico said.

House and Senate party leaders met Wednesday with Obama to discuss, among other things, financial reform.

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