Baby Steps

Dems Drop Wall Street Fund From Reform Bill

One disputed portion of the financial-reform bill down, two to go. Senate Democrats have agreed to drop a $50 million fund for Wall Street, which would be used to avoid having taxpayers shoulder the cost of ailing banks. It was a provision that Republicans bitterly contested and described as a "bailout-in-waiting." President Barack Obama today told business leaders "we cannot allow these reforms to be watered down," but also said there were "legitimate differences on the details on what is a complicated piece of legislation." Today's compromise still leaves two major contested pieces of the bill: Democrats want to start a consumer protection agency to police lending practices, which Republicans claim is too broad, and some Democrats want to create more controls for derivatives, the financial instrument considered key in 2008's economic collapse. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he wanted to finish this legislation this week or sooner, as Obama has made the passage of financial reform a priority.