Chris Dodd Atlantic Council Speaking Gesturing

Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, declared that recent events demonstrate, "The debate is over.  We’re in a global economy."  As such, he repeatedly called for close coordination between American regulators and those of the  other G20 nations.

The just-passed Dodd-Frank bill followed the principles outlined in the 2008 G20 Summit and the chairman expressed his strong desire that other G20 members, particularly those in the EU, follow suit.   Indeed, he declared that the American bill should serve as a model for theirs.

The key, as Dodd repeatedly emphasized, was balancing the need for consumer protection and stable institutions "without strangling productivity and creativity," which he deemed "the cornerstones of our success."

As Scott Bleiweis noted in this space earlier today ("The Financial Reform Bill Passed: Now What?") "Despite being 2,315 pages in length, Dodd-Frank contains few specific guidelines on how to enact and enforce its provisions."  That’s the work of an interlocking array of regulatory agencies and will take years.

Asked by Atlantic Council president and CEO Fred Kempe whether he was worried that this process would change the character of the law he’d worked so hard to pass, Dodd allowed that "of course" it was a concern.   But, he explained, it was simply unavoidable that "fill-in" be done by this process, as it was in the early post-Bretton Woods period.   The details are simply too complicated to cover in legislation and it was necessary to defer to experts in the bureaucracies.

Because that same process will take place in the other G20 countries, though, Dodd argued that it was imperative that senior regulators from America routinely meet with those of their counterparts.  To that end, he proposed the establishment of a Principals Group that would convene on a regular basis ahead of G20 Summits so that rules could be as even across the board as possible.

While he did not think it appropriate to discuss the American legislative response to the impending Basel III accords, he signaled his interest in the matter by noting that he had not only already scheduled hearings for September, when the Senate returns from its recess, but two hearings for 2011, by which time he’ll have retired after 36 years in the Senate. 

James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council. Photo by Christine Mahler for the Atlantic Council.

Click here to visit the event page for Senator Dodd’s visit

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