Chris Dodd Atlantic Council

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd expressed deep skepticism that a European style bank levy is coming to the United States.  Certainly, it won’t happen on his watch, because "not much happens" in the final months before an election or in a lame duck session with substantial partisan movement.

Dodd made this statement in the question and answer session of his Atlantic Council discussion on "Reforming Global Finance For the Economic Recovery."

In a refreshingly frank appearance, perhaps spurred on by his impending retirement, the chairman frequently made reference to the political realities of legislating rather than trying to create the illusion that decisions were always a matter of  "scientific analysis."  For example, in a discussion of the Volker Rule, he joked that he wished he could tell us that there was some "logarithmic formula" for arriving at the final percentage in the legislation.  In reality, he said, the number 3% was arrived at because "that’s where we could get 60 votes."

Similarly, asked repeatedly — some might say "baited" — to express his worries about what might happen if Republican Richard Shelby became his successor after the fall elections, Dodd expressed his confidence that the changes would be small.  Despite the heated rhetoric that takes place in public, he noted that his particular committee, owing to the arcane nature of the work, tended to not only be internally collegial but to get substantial deference from the Senate as a whole. 

Further, while there might be some "tinkering" in the next Congress, the bottom line is that "nobody wants to go back" to the situation that we were in before the legislation was passed.  Not only the public but the financial industry itself wants to have "certainty" and understand what the rules of the game are.

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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