(Adds quotes and background)
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said on Tuesday that Congress should not adjourn for its two-week Easter recess on March 26 without addressing financial reform.
A day after unveiling his long-awaited reform legislation, the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC that public demand for new Wall Street regulation was too strong to risk waiting longer in a congressional election year.
“We really can’t allow this Congress to adjourn without addressing these basic issues,” Dodd said in an interview.
Dodd’s bill has been criticized by Republicans who oppose new regulation for the U.S. financial sector as well as by some Democrats who say his measure does not go far enough to safeguard the public following the worst financial crisis in generations and the deepest recession since the 1930s.
He wants his banking panel to examine the measure quickly and pass it on to the Senate floor, where Democrats would need 60 votes to overcome procedural roadblocks that are sure to be thrown up by Republicans. The Democrats control 59 of the 100 Senate seats.
“We’re on the right track here if we’re being badgered by both sides,” Dodd said. “We think we’re on the right track and the public really wants us to address these issues and they deserve an answer.”
Dodd released the 1,336-page bill on Monday, less than a week after efforts at a bipartisan compromise with Republicans broke down. Lawmakers have been arguing for months about regulatory reform.
Dodd and other Democrats worry that if no action is taken before the recess, lawmakers in Congress could become too distracted by the coming November elections to act on major legislation. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Paul Simao)