Reasonable worries, perhaps. But those who despaired of strong reform did not reckon on HCR passage changing the dynamic in Congress; or on the pressure that would be generated by bringing the bill to the floor just as election season heated up; or on the fresh spur to rage afforded by an SEC suit (and criminal investigation) against the nation's most lucrative financial institution.
Just nine days ago, Jonathan Chait was marvelling at the strength of the Dodd ill as it came to the floor. Now, the WSJ reports, a tide of amendments is bidding to restrict financial institutions' activity far more radically:
Sens. Ted Kaufman (D., Del.) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) plan an amendment that would prohibit any bank from ever holding more than 10% of the country's deposits and put strict caps on the debt banks issue.
Sens. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) have worked on an amendment that would force commercial banks to separate from investment banks—revisiting the Glass-Steagall Act of the 1930s.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) and Carl Levin (D., Mich.) plan a provision to forbid banks with federally insured deposits from certain trading activities.