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November 12, 2009

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Proposal for super-cop to police banks

PUSHING for tougher changes in United States financial regulations, the Senate's top banking legislator on Tuesday proposed a new super-cop to police banks, a systemic risk agency and strong consumer protection.

Senator Christopher Dodd, who is fighting for his political life back home in Connecticut, unveiled a 1,136-page bill that leaps ahead of previous, more moderate financial reform proposals.

The long-awaited Dodd bill raises the stakes in a struggle under way for more than a year now, with Democrats working to bring the outdated US regulatory system into the 21st century and prevent a repeat of the capital market crisis that last year pushed the financial system to the brink of disaster.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said there were no signs yet of Republican support for the bill.

Dodd would create a single bank regulator by closing two existing regulators and stripping two others, including the Federal Reserve, of direct bank supervision duties.

He also seeks crackdowns on over-the-counter derivatives, hedge funds, mortgage-backed securities, credit rating agencies and executive pay, reflecting Obama administration proposals in some ways, but charting new territory in others.

Flanked by eight other Democratic senators, Dodd released his bill at a news conference. He said he eyes a debate in the Senate Banking Committee, which he chairs, in December.

"This proposal will ... make our financial institutions more transparent, more responsible, and more accountable," Dodd said.


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