I think it's pretty obvious that we need to change the procedural rules in the Senate, and hopefully get around obstructionist tactics while still a
December 22, 2009

I think it's pretty obvious that we need to change the procedural rules in the Senate, and hopefully get around obstructionist tactics while still allowing honest debate and compromise. We can't have a system where senators from sparsely-populated states maintain such disproportionate power (and that's not even getting into the reality of a Congress corrupted by K Street):

WASHINGTON - Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, who one month ago proposed an overhaul of financial regulations that was hailed by many consumer activists, has all but jettisoned that proposal following Republican objections and has initiated talks for a new approach designed to satisfy some of his fiercest GOP critics.

Dodd’s strategy has raised concerns among consumer activists who were counting on him to come up with a tougher bill than the one recently passed by the House, and now worry that the entire measure will be weakened.

But the Connecticut Democrat, in an interview in which he laid out his strategy, said it would be too risky to launch another legislative effort that might repeat the Senate’s experience with in the health care debate, in which single senators have forced major rewrites or threaten to defeat the measure.

Dodd’s new approach began last week when he paired four Republicans and four Democrats on the Banking Committee to work together to come up with suggestions on reshaping the legislation. The process has not produced any details and is expected to continue through January, but participants have said they are hopeful of brokering a compromise bill that could get a Senate vote next year.

Asked what has become of his initial proposal, Dodd replied: “I laid down a bill that is as much a reflection of where I am on this as to plant a flag. I did what I wanted to do. I provoked people.’’

The strategy contrasts with the method employed by his legislative counterpart, House Financial Services chairman Barney Frank, who oversaw passage of a bill that would transform the regulatory landscape for banks and many businesses - while failing to gain a single Republican vote. Unlike in the House, where bills can pass by a single vote, Dodd needs 60 of 100 senators to avoid a filibuster.

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