On Tuesday, the Senate appointed seven Democrats and five Republicans from the Banking and Agriculture Committees to the conference committee on H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform Act, which will negotiate a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The seven Senate Democrat conferees are Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Tom Harkin (D-IA). The five Senate Republican conferees are Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Corker (R-TN), Judd Gregg (R-NH), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
Also on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the House would not appoint conferees until the week of June 7-11, after the Memorial Day congressional recess. Speculation is that the House’s delay is intended to prevent House Republicans from offering politically painful motions ‘to instruct conferees’ on the floor prior to the appointments. House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-MA) also circulated a memo saying he would pick himself and Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Mel Watt (D-NC), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Dennis Moore (D-KS) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) as the Democratic representatives from the House to the financial reform conference committee. In the memo, Frank also laid out this proposed timeline, which could include coverage of open meetings on C-SPAN: Tuesday, June 8th: conferees appointed … Wednesday, June 9th: first open meeting of the conference, organizational matters and opening statements only. Tuesday, June 15th, Wednesday, June 16th, Thursday, June 17th: conference meets on substantive issues. Tuesday, June 22nd, Wednesday, June 23rd: conference meets on substantive issues. Thursday, June 24th: conference concludes with formal signing ceremony; conference report filed shortly thereafter. Monday, June 28th: Rules Committee meets to grant rule. Tuesday, June 29th: House passes conference report which gives the Senate three days to pass it before the beginning of the July 4th recess.
On Wednesday, Michael Barr, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions and Diana Farrell, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, held a joint press conference about the Administration’s position on the financial regulatory reform bill. Both Barr and Farrell repeatedly deflected questions on the derivatives’ desk spinoff provision, authored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), which has drawn fierce opposition from business groups, Republicans and some Democrats. Lincoln, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, faces a tough fight in the conference committee to persuade the House and Senate to maintain the provision. Along with the administration, Frank and Dodd have also not indicated they will support the provision in the conference.