WASHINGTON — Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd gave Senate Republicans an ultimatum Wednesday: Stop criticizing his financial-overhaul bill or he will stop working with them on it.
"I have almost unlimited patience," Dodd (D., Conn.) said on the floor of the Senate, "but that unlimited patience is being tested by some of the comments I've heard."
Dodd said Republicans are lying when they claim that he pushed forward a partisan bill, as several top Republicans said Tuesday. From the very beginning of the process, Dodd said, he insisted that Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), the top Republican on the committee, be included in all meetings with the Obama administration, and he spent months negotiating with both Shelby and other Republicans on the bill's language before bringing his bill to a committee vote last month.
Dodd also said Republican arguments that the bill would perpetuate bailouts of large financial firms were "falsehoods" and talking points crafted by Wall Street lobbyists who want to kill the bill.
"To castigate it and label it as nothing more than a partisan debate and suggest somehow what we've done here is perpetuate 'too-big-to-fail' is just poppycock," Dodd said.
Dodd said the door to compromise is still open to Republicans, and he will continue meeting with Shelby and other Republicans. "I've extended the hand, I've written provisions in this bill to accommodate various interests, but I'm not going to continue doing this if all I'm getting from the other side is the suggestion somehow that this is a partisan effort."