WASHINGTON — Sens. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat, and David Vitter, a conservative Republican, rarely agree on contentious issues, but the two lawmakers have forged an unlikely partnership targeting the country's largest banks.

The Senate's latest odd couple say their alliance to end "too big to fail" took root last summer during a Banking Committee hearing with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, when the two realized they shared an interest in raising capital standards on big banks.

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