WASHINGTON — After two weeks of speculation that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd might give up his gavel to chair the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sources said late Tuesday the Connecticut Democrat is expected to retain his banking post.
Dodd is expected to announce his decision at a press conference Wednesday morning.
After the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, there had been growing speculation that Dodd would move to chair the HELP Committee, where he served as the No. 2. In doing so, he would have continued to hold a leading role in ensuring healthcare reform passed the Senate.
But as last week dragged on without an announcement from Dodd, the tide had started to shift, with many observers beginning to believe the Connecticut lawmaker would keep his banking post.
Dodd will face continuing challenges in doing so. The Obama administration has made passage of regulatory reform a top priority this year. So far, Dodd appears to be breaking with the administration's vision of reform. American Banker first reported last week that Dodd is leaning toward a bill that would create a single prudential supervisor for financial institutions, stripping power from existing agencies. The Obama plan would have eliminated the Office of Thrift Supervision, but retained supervisory power with the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Dodd's bill is also expected to create a consumer protection agency, and give systemic risk oversight to an interagency council.
Dodd is facing his toughest reelection battle of his career, having been tainted by a perception that he is too close to the financial services industry that he oversees and spent too much time campaigning for president while the financial crisis ensued.