FROM James Barth
Finance Reform under the Microscope A joint committee reached a surprise compromise last week on finance reform, and President Obama wanted both houses to pass it by the Fourth of July. But the death of Senator Robert Byrd deprived Democrats of a crucial vote, and today Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown pulled out , citing a $19 billion fee he called an unacceptable tax.
Finance Reform under the Microscope President Obama calls the finance reform compromise the biggest thing of its kind since the Great Depression, and he wants it on his desk by the Fourth of July. But the sudden death of Robert Byrd means one less Democratic vote in the Senate, and familiar questions are being raised all over again. Could banks still be "too big to fail?" Would consumers get better protection? Why would the mortgage giants Fanni Mae and Freddie Mac be left as they are? Will liberal Democrats or moderate Republicans get cold feet?
Finance Reform: Public Anger and Partisan Politics Yesterday, all the Senate Republicans and one Democrat voted not to allow a finance reform bill to go to the floor for debate. They claim they're trying to make improvements before they vote on the measure itself.
Roadblock on the Path to Financial Reform As a Senate committee was grilling Goldman Sachs executives today, Democrats called for another vote on finance reform , less than 24 hours after the last one. They claim all the Republicans voted "no" yesterday to protect Wall Street from a real crackdown. Republicans insist they just want a better bill. Behind the political theater, both sides seem to expect eventual action, because public anger has reached high-level intensity in this election year. Will the current measure shrink banks that are too big to fail? Will it protect taxpayers against future bailouts? Do we need more — or better — regulation?
The Rescue Plan and Its Possible Consequences After a weekend of political drama and late-night negotiations, Congress took up the latest version of the Wall Street rescue plan . With a price tag of $700 billion, nobody said they liked it, but supporters insisted the American people would be worse off without it. Opponents said it would never work. We hear the latest about what's in the plan and why is has just filed to pass a vote in the House. After their first debate , with no knockouts and no big mistakes, John McCain and Barack Obama are both claiming they made the bailout better. We hear from them.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?