Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who has been taking an ever more visible role in the Democratic fight for a Wall Street reform bill, spoke this morning at a Capitol news conference against a Republican amendment that would, Casey said, "gut" the Democrats' attempts to protect consumers.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has proposed an amendment that would move the consumer protection bureau inside the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and limit its oversight to nonbank mortgage companies. The FDIC would have to approve any new consumer protection rules that the bureau offers.
Democrats have long pushed a standalone agency -- in the face of objections from the GOP and industry, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, claiming it would create a new, unwieldy bureaucracy. Casey, appearing with three colleagues led by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., referenced a meeting between Wall Street executives and Republican Senate leaders that Dems have been harping on for the past few weeks.
"This amendment is maybe even better than a transcript of that meeting," Casey said. "This meeting on Wall Street was a very productive one for the Wall Street scheme artists but wasn't a very good one for the American people."
Democrats hope to wrap the bill up by the end of next week, but the consumer protection issue is one of several contentious votes that could trip up that timetable. Amendment votes began Wednesday and are continuing today.