WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Johnson, who is expected to chair the Senate Banking Committee next year, said Wednesday that the GOP's victory in the House was not likely to hurt his agenda.
Instead, the South Dakota Democrat, a well-known moderate, said he had always intended to work in a bipartisan approach on issues including the future of the housing finance system and oversight of the Dodd-Frank law.
"The Democrats are still in control of the Senate chamber, but we've known for some time that without 60 votes, this place has many roadblocks," he said. "I've always believed in consensus, that was my style yesterday before the elections and my style today after the elections. No one party has all the right or wrong answers."
Johnson said that he plans to wait and see the administration's plan to reform the government-sponsored enterprises before developing his own. But he is hopeful the two parties can work cooperatively on a bill.
"It's time to put politics on the backburner and focus on good policy," he said. "We have a lot of work to do and the American public wants results and they want us to focus on stabilizing the economy. That means we have to break through the gridlock and get GSE [reform] and Dodd-Frank implemented in a way that helps our economic recovery continue."
He added that it's "a matter of consensus and bipartisanship. I'll hope for the best and I'll wait for the administration's proposals on the GSEs."
Johnson said his first goal is to work with Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the lead GOP member of the panel, on the GSE bill, but would pursue a Democratic bill if an agreement could not be reached.
"We'll see about that," he said. "I'm inclined to work collaboratively but if there is no progress that way then we have the choice of doing it by ourselves but I hope that collaboration is possible."
As to House Republicans' interest in limiting the budget of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or reshaping its structure, Johnson said they were not achievable goals and said that he hoped to focus on viable policy solutions instead.
"I don't think that major changes will take place on Dodd-Frank. It's a matter of minor changes taking place," he said. "There is not only resistance from the Senate but the veto is possible too. So we should focus on realistic solutions to our problems."