U.S. House leaders named 20 Democrats and 10 Republicans, including 13th Congressional District Representative Judy Biggert, to work with senators on a panel designed to merge financial-regulation bills passed by the two chambers into a single measure for President Barack Obama's signature.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, will lead the conference committee that is scheduled to begin meetings tomorrow. House members appointed today by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, represent the six committees claiming jurisdiction over the bill.
"The New Direction Congress is sending a clear message to Wall Street: The party is over," Pelosi said in a statement announcing appointees. "The conference committee will work to send a final bill to the president's desk as soon as possible."
Senate leaders on May 25 selected 12 lawmakers -- seven Democrats and five Republicans -- to serve on the conference panel, which is designed to resolve differences between the regulatory-overhaul bills passed by the Senate last month and the House in December. The measures are designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic crisis that led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Washington Mutual Inc., and forced the U.S. to extend $700 billion in bailout funds to financial firms including American International Group Inc.
House Democrats today named Frank along with Financial Services members Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Maxine Waters of California, Melvin Watt of North Carolina, Gregory Meeks and Carolyn Maloney of New York, Dennis Moore of Kansas, Gary Peters of Michigan and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio.
Two representatives from each of the five other House committees claiming jurisdiction over the bill were also named, including Agriculture members Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Leonard Boswell of Iowa; and Energy and Commerce members Henry Waxman of California and Bobby Rush of Illinois; Judiciary members John Conyers of Michigan and Howard Berman of California; Oversight members Edolphus Towns of New York and Elijah Cummings of Maryland; and Small Business members Nydia Velazquez of New York and Heath Shuler of North Carolina.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, named Financial Services members Spencer Bachus of Alabama, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Judy Biggert of Illinois, Edward Royce of California and Jeb Hensarling of Texas.
Republicans also named Agriculture's Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, Energy and Commerce's Joe Barton of Texas, Small Business member Sam Graves of Missouri, Judiciary's Lamar Smith of Texas and Oversight's Darrell Issa of California.
"The American people want reform, not more permanent bailouts for Washington Democrats' Wall Street allies," Boehner said in a statement. "I called for an open, bipartisan, and transparent conference on financial regulation to ensure that taxpayers know exactly what is -- and what is not -- included in this critical legislation."
The House voted 217-198 today to reject a non-binding Republican recommendation that negotiators eliminate language that would allow regulators to seize and liquidate large failing financial firms. Republicans said the language would encourage taxpayer-funded bailouts of the companies.
"To somehow believe that ultimately taxpayers will not be called upon to have to bail out these firms is asking us, frankly, to ignore history and to suspend disbelief," Hensarling said on the House floor.
Democrats said the bill doesn't allow for bailouts.
The Senate last month named 12 negotiators, including seven Democrats: Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Charles Schumer of New York, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
The five Republican senators selected were Richard Shelby of Alabama, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.
Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee who wrote the Senate bill, said he plans to fend off efforts to weaken the legislation.
"I'm not going to let the bill become watered down in the process," Dodd told reporters today. "It's a strong bill and I intend to maintain a strong bill."
Shelby, the banking panel's top Republican, said he'd like to change language that creates a consumer financial protection agency to police banks for abuses in mortgage and credit-card lending. Shelby said he would like to give financial regulators a say over how the agency uses its powers.
"This agency will have basically no one over it," Shelby said.