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A perhaps-practical measure in financial reform

May 24, 2010 - Mike Maneval

Dylan Ratigan, host of a news and commentary show on MSNBC, detailed some of the better provisions of the financial reform bill on Friday. The bill, which passed the Senate on Thursday on a 59-to-39 vote, picked up the support of four Republicans while losing two Democrats. The House and Senate now must reconcile the differing versions of legislation they passed.

One measure mentioned by Ratigan is an amendment by Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota would set up a regulatory panel to pair securities with credit ratings firms, with the aim of more reliable, more independent credit ratings. A Wall Street Journal blog post by Michael Corkery questions the feasibility of a project of such scope, while still acknowledging "serious problems" with existing rating practices and saying Franken's proposal sounds "reasonable, in theory."

A report by Ezra Klein at the Washington Post's website details some of the obstacles faced in reconciliation, including the creation of an independent consumer protection agency, which has been a contentious point from the beginning, and the creation of a fund to use in liquidating troubled firms, which has been likened to a perennial bailout. Franken's push for independent credit ratings was not mentioned by the gaggle of Post reporters - seven assisting Klein - as a sticking point, the Journal's woes about its practicality aside.


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