Tuesday, May 5, 2009


From Domenico Montanaro and Abby Livingston

The House will act likely on Wednesday on legislation that would include a commission to examine the financial meltdown, according to Democratic and Republican Capitol Hill sources.

"The details of the commission language are still being worked out between the Judiciary Committees between the House and the Senate," said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "That language could be similar to the Senate, but it is in the process of intensive legislative discussions."

The options for the bill are either:
1. The House passes its own House version, and then go to conference with the Senate, or
2. Pass essentially the same bill between the House and Senate that would be ready quickly for the president to sign, which is what they're working on.

Both sides want to move quickly and negotiations are centering on "working off the Senate version."

The way the commission could work, according to preliminary details, is as follows:
(1) It would be bipartisan,
(2) Members of Congress would be excluded
(3) There would be at least eight people on the committee, and perhaps one to two more. (Each leader would get one person on the committee. There are four leaders. And each financial committee chair -- Banking in Senate, Financial Services in House -- and ranking member would get a pick. That's four more for a total of eight and maybe one to two others.

The office of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said the legislation would be identical to the Senate-passed (S. 386) and according to an Issa spokesman, the House will pass Wednesday. Issa's office contends that the commission will be comprised of 10 members, precludes elected officials from serving on the board and would have subpoena power.

Issa's office also described the development as a "rare case where everyone set aside partisan measures."

For historical context, there was a commission in the early 1930s called "the Pecora Commission" that investigated the 1929 Crash. The revelations uncovered led to many reforms, including Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. With that context, in March, First Read questioned why in this town that loves its bipartisan blue-ribbon panels, there wasn't a greater movement for a financial panel.

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