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GOP Concerns Over Bailouts 'Almost Laughable,' Pelosi Says

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Filed: Timeline

WASHINGTON—Emerging from a meeting with President Barack Obama, top lawmakers from both parties continued to bicker over the proposed financial-regulatory overhaul, with Democrats vowing to move forward on controversial legislation and Republicans renewing concerns that a Senate bill would institutionalize Wall Street bailouts.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told reporters outside the White House that bipartisan talks on the legislation have broken down, complaining that the bill Democrats are pushing through the Senate would lead to "endless taxpayer bailouts."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) rebuffed the Republican argument, calling it "such a diversion from the facts it's almost laughable, it's sad."

"For them to say it's a bailout for financial institutions just defies credibility," Ms. Pelosi said.

Republican Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Democratic proposals would "protect the biggest banks in America and harm the smallest banks" and make it harder for community banks to make loans to small businesses.

"It's all about more government, bigger programs," Mr. Boehner said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) pledged to move ahead "as rapidly as possible" on the bill that passed the Senate Banking Committee without any Republican backing.

"We're going to pass financial regulatory reform," Mr. Reid said, adding that Democrats have passed other measures recently with "almost no Republican help."

"I'm absolutely confident that the package that emerges...prevents bailouts," Mr. Obama said.

One of the major sticking points has been the legislation's treatment of derivatives. Big Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley have lobbied the Senate heavily in recent weeks to weaken rules in a financial overhaul bill that would threaten their lucrative derivatives trades.

"I am actually confident that we can work out an effective bipartisan package that assures that we never have 'too big to fail' again; that consumers are adequately protected when it comes to financial instruments," Mr. Obama said. "That we have a strong mechanism to regulate derivatives, something that we have not had, a derivatives market that is in the shadow economy but is enormously powerful, enormously risky—we want to get that into daylight so that regulators and ordinary Americans know what's going on when it comes to this huge segment of the financial system."


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