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Public Statements

Letter To The Honorable Christopher J. Dodd, Chairman, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs And The Honorable Barney Frank, Chairman, Committee on Financial Services

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Republican Senators Call For Transparency, Accountability In Financial Reform Conference

U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Republican Senate conferees on financial reform, today sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) calling for transparency, accountability, and fairness in the upcoming conference committee proceedings. The Senators urged Dodd and Frank to adopt the following principles:

*Public votes on all major issues: "We believe it would be a grave mistake if the conference's only vote is for approval of a final conference report that was prepared behind closed doors."

*Accountability for proposals: "The American people are entitled to know whether any provisions adopted by the conference were drafted or proposed by a Wall Street firm, a financial regulator or any other special interest."

*Fair and open process: "The only reason for rushing the conference would be to hide from the American people poorly conceived legislation or legislation designed to help a particular special interest."

"We believe that following these principles not only will help ensure that the conference conducts its work in an orderly and productive fashion, but also will create a fair and open process that allows all members to participate," the Senators concluded. "It will also give the American people the opportunity to follow the conference proceedings. Therefore, we request that the conference begin its work by adopting rules that embody these principles. It is our hope that the conference quickly can agree to these common sense rules so that it promptly can begin its difficult task of preparing a conference report."

The full text of the letter is below.

May 27, 2010
The Honorable Christopher J. Dodd
Chairman, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Barney Frank
Chairman, Committee on Financial Services
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Dodd and Chairman Frank:

As the Senate Republican conferees to the conference committee on financial regulatory reform legislation, we write to suggest principles that we believe should be used to govern the conference's proceedings to ensure that the conference is open, transparent, and fair.

The financial regulatory reform legislation that the conference will consider could be the most significant legislation on financial regulation that the Congress has passed since the Great Depression. It will have profound consequences for our economy and on the living standards of Americans for generations. If enacted as passed by either the Senate or House, it will directly affect how small and large businesses operate, dramatically expand the government's involvement in the economy, limit the choices available to consumers, and impose new taxes and fees on the American people.

Given the importance of this legislation, we believe that the conference should be conducted in a completely open and transparent manner. The American people should have the opportunity to understand the issues under consideration and hear the arguments for and against proposals before they are adopted by the conference. This conference is too important for the major issues to be decided behind closed doors.

Therefore, we believe that the conference should adhere to the following principles:

*Public votes on all major issues. All members of the conference should vote to decide how to reconcile each of the major differences between the House and Senate bills. This would allow each issue to be debated fully and would provide a clear record of why the conference adopted a particular measure. This also would ensure accountability as each member of the conference would have to vote, on the record, regarding each proposal put before the conference. We believe it would be a grave mistake if the conference's only vote is for approval of a final conference report that was prepared behind closed doors.

*Accountability for proposals. Because Wall Street and our financial regulators have a great deal at stake in the work of the conference, procedures should be adopted to limit the influence of special interests. In particular, we believe that all legislative measures should be prepared by the conference in a public manner and, where applicable, the conference should disclose publicly the proponent of any additional language or measures contained in the conference report. The American people are entitled to know whether any provisions adopted by the conference were drafted or proposed by a Wall Street firm, a financial regulator or any other special interest.

*Fair and open process. An open debate will only be valuable if members of the conference have an opportunity to consider proposals and time to debate them. The conference's work is too important for it to be bound by artificial deadlines. The only reason for rushing the conference would be to hide from the American people poorly conceived legislation or legislation designed to help a particular special interest. Accordingly, members should have ample time to consider and offer amendments to any proposal before it is voted on by the conference. All members also should have an opportunity to be heard on every issue the conference considers.

We believe that following these principles not only will help ensure that the conference conducts its work in an orderly and productive fashion, but also will create a fair and open process that allows all members to participate. It will also give the American people the opportunity to follow the conference proceedings. Therefore, we request that the conference begin its work by adopting rules that embody these principles. It is our hope that the conference quickly can agree to these common sense rules so that it promptly can begin its difficult task of preparing a conference report.

We look forward to working with you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Richard C. Shelby
U.S. Senator

Saxby Chambliss
U.S. Senator

Mike Crapo
U.S. Senator

Bob Corker
U.S. Senator

Judd Gregg
U.S. Senator


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