Dorgan not satisfied with reformWall Street reform legislation now being considered by the Senate “moves in the right direction,” but it’s not as “aggressive” as Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., would like it to be, he told the Herald Thursday. The reform made it through a key vote Thursday afternoon as senators voted 60-40 to approve a cloture motion, which limits debate and final votes on amendments to the bill to 30 additional hours.
By: By Ryan Johnson, Forum Communications Co. , The Jamestown Sun
Wall Street reform legislation now being considered by the Senate “moves in the right direction,” but it’s not as “aggressive” as Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., would like it to be, he told the Herald Thursday.
The reform made it through a key vote Thursday afternoon as senators voted 60-40 to approve a cloture motion, which limits debate and final votes on amendments to the bill to 30 additional hours.
Republican Sens. Scott Brown, Mass., Susan Collins, Maine, and Olympia Snowe, Maine, joined 57 Democrats, including Dorgan, in voting for the motion. A similar cloture motion failed Wednesday 57-42.
The motion sets up a final vote either Friday or Saturday or early next week. If approved by the Senate, the bill would need to go through reconciliation with a House banking reform package approved in December.
Dorgan said the bill as it stood Thursday afternoon “moves in the right direction,” but it wasn’t perfect.
“It’s not as aggressive as I would like,” he said. “It does not resolve the doctrine of ‘too big to fail’ the way I would like it to be resolved.”
If a company is so big that its failure “could potentially bring down the economy,” Dorgan said, it should divest and transfer or dispose of interests “back to a point where they are not too big to fail.”
He said he plans to vote for the final bill, even though it “falls short of addressing it all.”
Dorgan said the reform should outlaw so-called naked credit default swaps; derivatives tied to the potential for an asset to default — but the traders don’t have a stake in that asset. He said this kind of trading is “flat-out gambling” that should be banned.
“If you’re going to be wagering, do it in a casino,” he said. “Don’t do it in a bank where the American people could get stuck with the losses.”
Dorgan presented an amendment Tuesday that, if approved, would limit investors to taking out credit default swaps only on assets they own. But lawmakers tried to block the amendment from coming up for a floor vote.
“My amendment was blocked along with a number of others by some Republicans that don’t want to get tough on Wall Street,” Dorgan said.
Dorgan did get a vote on a second-degree amendment that would attach his proposal to the overall bill, but Democratic leaders motioned to table it. That motion passed 56-38, essentially killing the amendment.
He was quoted Tuesday by the Washington, D.C., newspaper The Hill as taking issue with how the floor process was handled.
“If from this day forward we have decided — or from today forward we have decided that someone on the other side who is at this point unknown is going to object to amendments that are uncomfortable, amendments that I think will strengthen the bill, this isn’t much of a process anymore,” Dorgan was quoted in The Hill.
But Dorgan told the Herald this bill is something that needs to happen, even if it isn’t as aggressive as he would prefer it to be.
“This bill moves in the right direction,” he said. “It’s certainly better to move in the right direction than to not move at all.”
Ryan Johnson is a reporter at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.