As the Senate Banking Committee finally considers a bill to reform the financial system that collapsed nearly a year and a half ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner is already cheering up bankers concerned about how the bill will affect them.
Even if the Senate approves the legislation, Boehner promised anxious bankers that reconciling it with the House's own bill will push the process back at least another year.
"Don't let those little punk staffers take advantage of you and stand up for yourselves," Boehner said. "All of us are hearing from our friends and constituents on lack of credit, you can't get a loan, the more your government takes and taxes, the more regulations you have to comply with the more cost you have there and less amount you are going to have available to loan to customers."
Boehner was speaking to an "enthusiastic crowd of bankers" at the government relations summit for the American Bankers Association when he assuaged their fears of answering to the government for banking practices that critics say brought on an economic meltdown.
"If the Senate is able to produce a bill, I think it's just as likely that we'll be talking about the same issue a year from now as we are right now," Boehner said.
The bill would make the biggest changes to U.S. financial regulation since the 1930s, and the its fate will determine "the prosperity of the U.S. economy over the next 25 to 50 years," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd sponsored the bill and unveiled its 1,300 page draft without Republican support to avoid getting bogged down in argument and hopefully expediting its passage through the Senate.
Republicans like Boehner have already denounced the bill, but Dodd takes the criticism as a good sign.
“There’s enough complaints about it, I think I’m on the right track,” Dodd said.
Banking trade groups have taken aim at a provision of Dodd's bill that would states to pass stronger consumer protection rules than the federal ones.
The Consumer Bankers Association issued a strong statement opposing the preemption language.
“The bill would overturn 150 years of federal pre-emption that have helped create an efficient nationwide banking system,” CBA President Richard Hunt said in a statement Monday.