WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike Crapo, a Republican, and Rep. Walt Minnick, a Democrat, both had a hand in the sweeping financial regulatory bill set to come to the House and Senate for a vote this week.
Crapo, who sat on the conference committee that worked out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill, was up until dawn Friday when he and his colleagues voted on the compromise after a marathon 20-hour work session. He and all the other Republicans on the conference committee voted against the compromise bill.
Initially, Crapo said, the Republicans were hopeful about making some changes in the legislation designed to address the conditions that led to the near-collapse two years ago of the U.S. economy.
But they knew some areas were off-limits, Crapo said. That included persuading Democrats to "drop the notion of a brand new bureaucracy," Crapo said, referring to the creation of the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the Federal Reserve.
"There are good things in there, but the bad far outweighs the good," he said. "Frankly, there was a little tinkering around the edges, but I was disappointed."
Crapo said he has several fundamental concerns with the bill, including the compromise over the complex financial instruments known as derivatives,
The bill requires commercial banks to spin off most of their derivative trading operations. They'll be able to maintain less-risky investments, such as derivatives involving bets on the movement of interest rates, or on the rise and fall of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies.
Minnick also had concerns about the derivative compromise, saying he fears it would send businesses overseas to markets where they're able to buy derivatives to hedge risks.
Minnick also lamented the highly partisan battle to pass the bill.
"I'm very disappointed this process did not work in a way that sensible people of both parties could have supported it," he said.
Minnick, who worked on the bill when it was in the House Financial Services Committee, also is leery of the new regulatory agency. He wanted existing regulators to be given more power rather than to create a new consumer protection agency. But he'll vote for the bill.
"There's more good in the bill than bad," he said. "A financial shock can come at any time from any source É and we need to have the tools in place to manage the next one."
The other two members of Idaho's congressional delegation, Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. Jim Risch, both opposed the initial version of the bill and are unlikely to change those votes.