Oh, What a Night
The high-stakes negotiations of the regulatory reform conference with its marathon sessions and nearly 20-hour grand finale were not without its breaking points.
Moments of drama and comic relief punctuated the conference as lawmakers tried to make the best of what was a long and painful process for all parties involved.
That was particularly true for the final day, when the committee was essentially forced to kill time dealing with relatively easy issues or waiting around as lawmakers hashed out compromises on the Volcker Rule and a contentious derivatives provision.
House Republicans attempted to fill the void — as they have throughout the conference — by talking about the failure of the government-sponsored enterprises and the subject became a running joke on the final day.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank was so fed up at one point with points made by Rep. Spencer Bachus, the panel's lead GOP member, that he told the Alabama Republican that he should make sure he was giving him his good ear to ensure he was listening to his arguments. Bachus responded by turning his back to the conference table and facing the audience for several minutes, making him appear like a punished child who had just been put in time out.
After a lull in the late evening over efforts to finalize the Volcker Rule, Frank noted he had been waiting to see new language on the issue all day. When Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd offered that "we could debate the GSEs some more," Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a chief instigator on the GSE issue, swooped in to ask, "Would the gentleman yield?"
Other issues also got bandied about, including proxy access with the House and Senate debating multiple counteroffers, principally between Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
After multiple exchanges, the conferees ultimately adopted the original Senate language, which left the issue up to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That prompted Schumer to sing a line to Waters from Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Started From."
Late in the final push to finish the bills in the early predawn hours on Friday, Frank said he was just waiting on paper to print the House's latest proposal. He suggested that during the next conference, he would just "tweet" his proposals.
When the Senate came back with its final offer on how to pay for the bill, one of Dodd's staffers had to read the proposal to the conference. Frank asked that he identify himself. Frank then jokingly asked the staffer to identify Sen. Bob Corker, who was standing next to the staffer, saying "Who's your assistant?"
Corker took the joke in stride and the held the microphone for the staffer, saying "this is only successful thing I've done the whole time."
The conference's crowning moment was near the end when Rep. Paul Kanjorski offered a motion to name the bill after the two chairman — "either Frank-Dodd or Dodd-Frank" he said.
Frank offered to put Dodd's name first, while Dodd first jokingly objected to naming the bill after himself. In the end, however, the two chairmen accepted the honor to a standing ovation from fellow lawmakers, and the bill, once it is signed into law, will be known as the Dodd-Frank Act.
New York Fed Veeps
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Friday named five vice presidents.
The board selected Tobias Adrian as vice president in the capital markets function of the research and statistics group. He joined the bank as an economist in August 2003.
Steven Friedman will now serve as vice president in the markets operations, monitoring and analysis function of the market group. In August 1998, he joined the bank as a financial economic analyst for the bank supervision group.
Evelyn Kender will be vice president in the human resources group. She first joined the bank in July 1970 as a personnel assistant, but left to work at the Board of Governors for several years, before rejoining in 1976.
Barry Schindler will be vice president in the compliance function of the legal group. He had been assistant vice president in the same post since May 2009.
Lastly, Jainaryan Sooklal was promoted to vice president in the funding and liquidity risk department of the bank supervision group. Before joining the Fed as an assistant vice president in April 2009, he was a managing director, assistant treasurer and global head of long-term financing at Morgan Stanley.