Factbox: A look at House, Senate conferees on financial reform

(Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers will merge the Senate’s financial regulation bill with a similar measure that passed the House of Representatives late last year.

The conference committee is comprised of 12 Senators, seven Democrats and five Republicans, and 31 House members, 20 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

The bulk of the negotiations will take place between the White House and the two lawmakers who pushed regulation bills through their respective chambers -- House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who is heading the conference panel, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd.

However, the broader conference committee still has the power to debate and vote on revisions to the final bill. Below are the names of the conferees.


** Barney Frank

As chairman, the House Democrat will play a central part in merging the two bills. He has said the Senate and House bills are more alike than different and is aiming to wrap up the committee’s work by June 24.

Frank, an openly gay legislator known for his pragmatic brand of liberalism, is a key ally of President Barack Obama and pushed a bill through the House in December that achieved much of the administration’s original reform objectives.

Frank has already taken issue with a tough measure from Senate Democrat Blanche Lincoln that would force banks to spin off their swaps desk. He said the measure goes too far, giving industry and banking regulators hope that the ban will not be included in the final bill.


** Christopher Dodd

Dodd was responsible for shepherding a broad financial regulation bill through the Senate. He will work with Frank to merge their separate bills.

The Connecticut lawmaker has shown a willingness to work with Republicans. During Senate negotiations, Dodd tried to strike a bipartisan deal with two Republicans on his panel. Although talks broke down three times, Dodd still compromised on key issues. He agreed to house a new consumer watchdog in the Federal Reserve and allowed the central bank to retain supervisory authority over banks of all sizes.

Dodd first won election to the House in 1974. He moved to the Senate in 1980 and was reelected four times. He has decided not to seek reelection in November.

** Blanche Lincoln

The Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman was successful in getting the Senate to include her controversial measure for the $615 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market. Facing a tough reelection battle in Arkansas and under pressure to prove that she was no friend of Wall Street, Lincoln proposed requiring banks to choose between their lucrative derivatives trading desks and access to federal backstops. After defeating a primary challenge from the left, Lincoln is now likely to tack back toward the center as she faces a strong Republican challenger in the November election.

** Charles Schumer

The New York Democrat crafted measures designed to improve how publicly traded companies are governed. Schumer has pushed for more shareholder rights, including giving them an easier way to nominate board directors and a say on executive pay.

** Jack Reed

The Senate Banking securities subcommittee chairman was in charge of crafting derivatives rules but was unable to reach a compromise with Republicans. The Rhode Island lawmaker has said he prefers an alternate approach to curb risky trading over Lincoln’s derivatives measures. Reed, considered a liberal, introduced legislation that would expose credit rating agencies to greater liability.

** Tim Johnson

The South Dakota senator is a champion of community banks and credit card companies. He is next in line to take over the chairmanship of Senate Banking Committee when Dodd retires at the end of the year. Johnson suffered a brain hemorrhage three years ago that hampered his mobility and impeded his speech, but he has been on the mend and his speech has improved markedly in recent months.

** Tom Harkin

A prairie populist, the Iowa Democrat was sponsor last year of a bill to ban over-the-counter derivatives. He says financial reform must maximize clearing of OTC derivatives and assure public reporting of trades.

** Patrick Leahy

The owl-eyed Vermont Democrat expects to be active on an amendment to limit credit and debit card fees and criminal penalties for fraud. He supports Lincoln’s proposal to spin off swaps desks from big banks. Keywords: FINANCIAL REGULATION/CONFEREES


** Richard Shelby

The senior senator from Alabama held immense sway over the reform debate. But his efforts to weaken the bill largely failed amid widespread public support for tougher regulations. In the end, he voted against the legislation. Shelby, 76, was first elected to the House in 1978 as a Democrat. He moved to the Senate in 1986 and switched parties in 1994.

** Bob Corker

The junior senator from Tennessee is a multimillionaire commercial developer and construction company owner who was mayor of Chattanooga. He was elected to the Senate in 2006. He broke with protocol by entering negotiations with Democrats when Dodd’s talks with Shelby failed the first time. Corker and Dodd were never able to achieve a bipartisan solution.

** Mike Crapo

The Idaho senator was charged with trying to reach a compromise with Democrats on investor protections and shareholder rights but was not successful. Sticking points included the thorny issue of “proxy access,” or giving shareholders an easier and cheaper way to influence the composition of the corporate board. Crapo voted against the Senate bill.

** Judd Gregg

The New Hampshire senator was close to reaching an agreement on derivatives rules with Reed, but talks broke down over who would be exempt from the rules. Gregg has said he would not support a bill that included proxy access or Lincoln’s derivatives provisions. He voted against the Senate bill.

** Saxby Chambliss

A ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Chambliss co-sponsored with Shelby an amendment to weaken the Dodd bill’s crackdown on derivatives. But the effort failed and he voted against the overall reform legislation. Chambliss, from Georgia, was first elected to the Senate in 2002.


** Howard Berman

Berman is an outspoken advocate on the Judiciary Committee for the entertainment industry, which has a heavy presence in his Los Angeles-area district. A member of Congress since 1982, Berman has been involved in a wide range of issues from copyright to immigration to ethics.

** Leonard Boswell

A Vietnam veteran, Boswell represents central Iowa including the state capital of Des Moines and is chairman of the House Agriculture “risk management” subcommittee.

** John Conyers

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Conyers is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and has held his Detroit-based House seat since 1964, making him the second-longest serving member of the chamber.

** Elijah Cummings

Cummings sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and represents a heavily black district in Baltimore and its suburbs that includes many impoverished areas.

** Paul Kanjorski

The left-leaning, Pennsylvanian congressman has proposed breaking up financial services firms before they pose a risk to the financial system and the economy. He has also indicated that he is not wedded to all aspects of the bill that passed the House, including the creation of an agency to protect consumers from risky financial products.

** Mary Jo Kilroy

Kilroy was elected in 2008 as the first Democrat from Columbus, Ohio, to win a House seat in over 25 years. This year, she joined Republican Spencer Bachus in seeking greater congressional scrutiny of the regulatory failures leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

** Luis Gutierrez

The first Hispanic House member from Illinois, Gutierrez is an outspoken critic of the financial industry and authored an amendment to the House reform bill that requires the biggest banks to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more in deposit insurance fees each quarter.

** Gregory Meeks

Meeks, who grew up in a Harlem housing project, is a social liberal. But he is viewed on economic issues as the most pro-business of New York City Democrats. As a key swing vote on trade, he bucked the Democratic leadership by supporting the Central American Free Trade Agreement and has backed normal trade relations with China.

** Dennis Moore

A so-called Blue Dog Democrat from Kansas, Moore is a pro-business legislator who backs free trade and pushed last year for the House to deny failing financial firms a milder form of receivership that would allow them eventually to emerge anew. He plans to retire after this year.


** Carolyn Maloney

A New York liberal who counts many a Wall Street banker among her Manhattan constituents, Maloney has nonetheless leveled harsh rhetoric at banks while pushing to protect consumers from predatory loans and other abusive lending practices. She has also sought greater oversight of the Federal Reserve.

** Gary Peters

With Kilroy, he is one of the conference panel’s two House freshmen. Peters was vice president of investments for Paine Webber after nine years as an executive for Merrill Lynch. In early 2009, he proposed taxing employee bonuses at companies that receive federal bailout money. But the measure was worded to apply only to beleaguered insurer American International Group.

** Collin Peterson

The House Agriculture Committee chairman, a Minnesotan who plays rock guitar to relax, would exempt “end users” from a requirement to send swaps through clearinghouses. He is skeptical of the Federal Reserve as a regulator.

** Bobby Rush

A former Black Panther, Rush represents the South Side of Chicago and has a liberal voting record as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. A House member since 1992, Rush defeated a primary challenge from then-state legislator Barack Obama.

** Heath Shuler

Shuler first came to Washington as a quarterback for the Redskins football team. He won a House seat in 2006 as a centrist representing a conservative district in North Carolina, and sits on the House Small Business Committee.

** Edolphus Towns

Towns, who is relatively business-friendly, chairs the Oversight and Government Reform committee. Like other Democrats who represent New York City, he is likely to be mindful of the bill’s impact on the financial industry.

** Nydia Velazquez

Another New York City Democrat, Velazquez chairs the Small Business Committee. Born in Puerto Rico, she has a solidly liberal voting record.

** Maxine Waters

The California lawmaker is among Wall Street’s harshest critics and an outspoken opponent of the banking industry. Last year, she and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus voiced concerns about the House bill on behalf of poor and middle-class Americans, prompting the House Financial Services Committee temporarily to suspend its consideration of the measure.

** Melvin Watt

Known as one of the most liberal of Southern Democrats, the North Carolina lawmaker has introduced measures to protect minorities and the poor from predatory mortgages and insurance credit scores. He joined Frank in 2007 on legislation to overhaul the housing finance market and to require lenders to determine whether borrowers can repay loans.

** Henry Waxman

The California Democrat is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and took a leading role in passage of climate legislation last year.


** Spencer Bachus

An Alabama conservative, Bachus has angered other Republicans by negotiating with Democrats on the $700 billion bank bailout and earlier initiatives to ban predatory lending and address credit card abuses. He risked losing his role as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee but survived after agreeing to fall in line with party leaders.

** Scott Garrett

Garrett, regarded as the most conservative member of the New Jersey delegation, has clashed several times with Frank and opposes Democratic financial reforms as measures that would restrict credit, protect banks and hurt consumers. He favors giving regulators more power to investigate problems and enforce rules.

** Jen Hensarling

A staunch fiscal conservative from Texas, Hensarling espouses free market principles and limited government. He strongly opposed the Democratic push for financial reform, castigating the Consumer Financial Protection Agency envisioned by the House bill as “a new federal agency with draconian powers.”

** Edward Royce

A conservative from California’s Orange County, Royce has worked with Democrats on the Financial Services Committee to strengthen both federal oversight of insurance companies and lending authority for credit unions. He opposed the House-passed bill, however, warning that it would codify bailouts of troubled firms. Keywords: FINANCIAL REGULATION/CONFEREES

** Joe Barton

The Texan is senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has fought Obama’s regulatory agenda from health-care reform to climate change to the financial bailout, while arguing strongly for lower taxes and greater financial freedom.

** Judy Biggert

A moderate from suburban Chicago with an eye on a leadership post, Biggert has warned against overregulation of derivatives and questioned the wisdom of a proposed fund to cover the costs of unwinding troubled firms.

** Shelley Moore Capito

The West Virginia moderate has concentrated on housing issues as a member of the Financial Services Committee and has said that the reform effort should include an overhaul of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. She has also criticized the bill’s provisions to unwind troubled firms.

** Sam Graves

The ranking member of the House Small Business Committee who also sits on the Agriculture Committee, Graves has been described as a party loyalist who has nonetheless shown moderate instincts on some economic issues. From Missouri, in 2007, he joined with a Democrat on legislation to loosen investment capital restrictions for small businesses.

** Darrell Issa

From California, he holds a relatively moderate voting record as the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His 2003 effort to recall the Democratic governor of California led to the election of former actor Arnold Schwarzenegger there.

** Frank Lucas

Lucas, from western Oklahoma, would exempt derivatives “end users” from clearing and warns heavy-handed regulation will drive financial business overseas. He is a senior member of the two House committees that wrote the reform bill.

** Lamar Smith