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The Senate is back in Washington, ready to take up finance reform. In this election year, will Democrats and Republicans re-play the debate over healthcare? We look at the similarities -- and the differences. We also get a progress report on the President’s summit on nuclear terrorism. Also, the former CEO and executives of Washington Mutual testify before Congress.

Banner image: Opening Plenary Session I of the Nuclear Security Summit, April 13, 2010. Photo: Chuck Kennedy

Making News Former WaMu CEO and Executives Testify before Congress 7 MIN, 41 SEC

Former executives of Seattle-based Washington Mutual are talking to Congress for the first time since the bank collapsed because of the housing crisis.  Today, they responded to a Senate Subcommittee’s findings that WaMu crated a "mortgage time bomb" with subprime loans they knew would go bad but which they packaged into Wall Street securities.  Patrick Yoest reports for Down Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal.

Patrick Yoest, Congressional Reporter, Dow Jones Newswires and Wall Street Journal

Main Topic Summit on Curbing Nuclear Threats Gets Underway 15 MIN, 16 SEC

After a dinner last night that was closed to reporters, President Obama opened his conference on nuclear terrorism today with 47 nations represented. The summit is focused on keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists. Can so-called "loose nukes" be secured in four years? We get a progress report.

Jonathan Weisman, New York Times (@jonathanweisman)
Brian Jenkins, RAND Corporation (@BrianMJenkins)
Gary Langer, Langer Research Associates and ABC News (@garylanger)

Main Topic Can the Senate Deliver Finance Reform in an Election Year? 27 MIN, 17 SEC

The US Senate's next item of business is finance reform, with Democrats trying to draw up an offer Republicans can't refuse. The provision banks hate most in the House version of reform is an independent agency for consumer protection that's been compared to the so-called “public option,” that divided Democrats to the GOP's benefit during the healthcare debate.  But the politics of finance reform are very different. With popular anger focused on Wall Street, should banks that are “too big to fail” be regulated or cut down to size? Should a consumer protection agency be independent or part of the Federal Reserve?

Noam Scheiber, New York Times (@noamscheiber)
Charles Taylor, Director, Pew Charitable Trusts' Financial Reform Project
Simon Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (@baselinescene)
John Berlau, Competitive Enterprise Institute

13 Bankers

Simon Johnson and James Kwak

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