WASHINGTON — The Senate Banking Committee voted 13 to 10 along party lines Monday evening to approve a redrafted financial regulatory reform bill, with Republicans voting against the measure but vowing to work with Democrats on a compromise package before the bill reaches the full Senate for consideration, possibly next month.
In allowing the bill to move out of committee, Republicans said they would hold off on several hundred amendments to the massive legislative package that they had proposed late last week.
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the committee, said the GOP did not plan to make the markup of the bill a “long march” involving “hundreds of amendments that would inevitably be defeated.”
“We don’t think that would be constructive or productive to the end game,” Shelby said. “Consequently, we will be opposed to the bill at this time, but I pledge to the chairman and others of my colleagues here that I will continue to work with them as this bill approaches floor consideration in hopes of reaching broad consensus.”
It was unclear when the full Senate would take up the measure, though it is likely the bill will not be considered until after the two-week Easter recess that begins on Friday.
Prior to voting on the legislation, the committee unanimously agreed to technical changes as drafted in the so-called “manager’s amendment” of the bill, which was offered by the committee chairman, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.
The changes in the manager’s amendment included language to ensure the municipal financial advisers of conduit borrowers would be regulated by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, which would have oversight of currently unregulated market intermediaries under Dodd’s proposal. Advisers would also have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the bill. In the earlier draft of the proposal that Dodd introduced last Monday, advisers to conduits and other borrowers were inadvertently excluded.
A separate financial regulatory reform package that cleared the House in December would require that advisers be regulated by the SEC, not the MSRB.
As the committee geared up for Monday night’s markup, Shelby was preparing to push for at least one amendment that would require advisers to be regulated by the SEC and prohibit them from serving as FAs if they participated in certain fraudulent activities, sources said. It was unclear if Shelby will pursue those changes when the bill reaches the full Senate.
Congressional sources said Republicans prefer the SEC because they believe the MSRB has been slow to react to market events and that, even with its Electronic Municipal Market Access disclosure and transparency systems, the muni market is opaque and inefficient.
But the committee’s Democrats generally are strong proponents of the MSRB and want to give EMMA time to work.