House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said Thursday that he would make major changes in a systemic-risk reform bill before moving to a final vote in two weeks.
At a markup session to begin consideration of the measure, Frank said he will propose amendments to address various concerns, particularly those about Federal Reserve Board powers and the reach of resolution authority.
"Many of the criticisms my Republican colleagues have made will be irrelevant by the time we get to them because we plan to make some changes," Frank said. "There will be reductions on the role of the Federal Reserve from what's in this bill. There will be restrictions on funding."
He said he plans to reduce the Fed's power and restrict its 13(3) emergency lending authority. The bill now would require the Fed to gain Treasury approval before using the authority. It was unclear how Frank plans to restrict that power further.
He also said he plans an amendment that would remove a provision to let the central bank override prudential regulators on systemic-risk matters, a provision strongly opposed by fellow regulators.
"There will not be a Federal Reserve power to overrule other regulators," Frank said.
He also noted that he would change the resolution authority funding to require "systemic" firms to contribute before a large failure, rather than afterward, as the bill now would provide. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has argued such a change would produce moral hazard.
But Frank said, "We are going to win that fight between us and the secretary."
Frank said he will introduce an amendment to remove the ability of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to place a systemic firm in conservatorship and added that the list of systemic institutions would become public. He is expected to introduce his manager's amendment within days but said it would not include substantial changes. Those will be in separate amendments.
Thursday was the first day of debate on the measure. Amendments were mostly noncontroversial. The committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to require that an interagency systemic-risk council consider a company's leverage and the degree to which it is already overseen by a federal regulator before designating a company as "systemic."
The committee will continue debate today but break next week. It will reconvene the week of Nov. 16 with a goal of committee approval by Nov. 20.