The Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved a bill largely along party lines that would bring sweeping new regulations to over-the-counter derivatives and force banks to spin off their swap desks if they wish to receive federal financial assistance.While the conservative stated that his support of the derivatives bill does not mean support of the larger financial bill, Grassley's break from the obstructionist method is a welcome one. It is my opinion that the conservatives have decided to show a little more cooperation, at least on this matter, not because they want to, but because they have to in order to stay in good graces with Main Street, U.S.A.
The bill, which will now likely be tucked into the Senate's broader financial legislation, received one Republican vote, from Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa). The final vote was 13-8.
Mr. Grassley's favorable vote could potentially have an impact on the broader financial bill as Democrats continue to seek support from Republicans to bring it to the floor. In a statement, he said he voted for the derivatives bill because he believes "transparency is the right policy," even though the proposal still "isn't perfect."
The committee vote came as top Republican senators said Wednesday that they were very optimistic they could reach a deal with Democrats on the broad financial legislation.
Why, just a few days ago, Republicans were ready to obstruct, with Scott Brown announcing he would join a Republican filibuster, but again, it is my opinion that the move to filibuster financial reform, which caused the economic crisis we are in today, makes the Republicans look weak on the economy, and so in a quasi-populist move, Republicans have softened their position, and have started to frame themselves as the knights (not midknights) in shining armor, attributing bipartisanship to their obstructionist stance as a way to get Democrats to lighten up, instead of the facts that Americans want financial reform, not the status quo, which in recent years has become synonymous with the GOP.