David Kirkpatrick

July 13, 2010

House passes Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Some employment related details on the legislation that’s now been sent to the Senate for a vote in the week or so:

  • Corporate governance: The legislation gives shareholders a say on pay and proxy access, ensures the independence of compensation committees, and requires companies to set clawback policies to take back executive compensation based on inaccurate financial statements, seen as important steps in helping shift management’s focus from short-term profits to long-term growth and stability.
  • Hedging rules: The SEC is directed to adopt rules requiring a company to disclose whether any employee or director is permitted to purchase financial instruments designed to hedge the market value of equity securities granted to the employee or director as part of his or her compensation.
  • Executive compensation disclosure: The SEC is required to amend Item 402 of Regulation S-K to mandate disclosure of the median of the annual total compensation of all employees, except the CEO; the annual total compensation of the CEO; and the ratio of the two.

Update 7/16/10 — the bill passed the Senate with a 60-39 vote.

April 22, 2010

The party of “no” pulls gun …

… shoots foot.

Here’s a bad procedural move by the GOP today:

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort by Democrats to start debate on legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system, and the two sides traded bitter accusations about who was standing in the way of a bipartisan agreement.

There is some political jujitsu going on right now, and the GOP stands to lose a lot more than the financial reform debate.

Also from the link:

The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, asked Republicans to agree to begin debating the measure, which would impose a sweeping regulatory framework on Wall Street and big financial institutions. But the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, objected, saying Democrats were pre-empting negotiations to reach a deal.

McConnell has a great point about negotiations, but his policy of all-out obstruction against all things Democrat in the legislature is working against him here. The Dems are very happy to force the GOP to block this move and substantially raise the floor of compromise. The longer the GOP opposes debate on the bill, the more the party appears to be in the pocket of Wall Street.

Fast forward to November and you’ll find a lot of ads hammering this point home to an electorate very, very sick of Wall Street and all things existing in the rarefied air of high finance. The economy is likely still going to be in the tank by the time election day rolls around and the GOP stands to gain, maybe gain a lot. The one thing it does not need is to be saddled with a tangible partnership with those evil-doers on Wall Street. And that is what has already started with today’s move.

Here’s the New Republic’s Jon Chait three days ago on why the Dems eagerly anticipated this move:

Chris Dodd says the Senate is going to hold a vote on his bill Wednesday or Thursday. Republicans still say they can muster 41 votes in opposition. The ideal for Democrats would be to have the whole GOP vote to filibuster the bill, then have a huge debate, and then have one or more Republicans defect and pass the bill anyway. Then you get an accomplishment and a chance to expose the GOP as carrying water for Wall Street.