At the first public meeting of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, panel members split among party lines over whether Congress should await the panel's December 2010 report before moving ahead with regulatory reform.

"The administration and Congress should not await the commission's report but should move forward promptly to adopt measures that are needed," said Brooksley Born, a former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who warned of the risk posed by derivatives; she was appointed to the panel by Democrats. "There is a danger that the sense of urgency to adopt reforms may diminish," she said.

That sentiment was echoed by Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida.

"Some say we have already missed a window of opportunity," he said. "This commission has the critical responsibility not to contribute to this cynicism … and not be a contributor to procrastination."

But Peter Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who was appointed by Republicans, disagreed.

"Congress, the president and the American people should want to know the extent of the causes of the crisis before Congress enacts legislation," he said. "That only makes sense."

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