Financial reform is the next big task on Congress’ list of action items, and on Wednesday the Senate Agriculture Committee made progress by approving a bill by committee Chair Blanche Lincoln that targets the derivatives market. Bonus: There was even one Republican, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, who voted for Lincoln’s bill, but not without making some tentative noises about his potential vote on a broader reform measure. –KA

The Wall Street Journal:

Ms. Lincoln’s bill is considered by some to be the toughest so far on regulating over-the-counter derivatives.

Like a version that passed in the U.S. House, the bill would require swap dealers and traders to execute contracts on trading platforms and utilize clearinghouses, which guarantee trades. Companies that use swaps to hedge commercial risks such as price moves in oil, however, would be exempt from clearing.

The bill also contains some more controversial provisions, including one that would force banks to spin off their swap desks if they wish to remain eligible for federal assistance from the Federal Reserve and another that would hold banks to a higher fiduciary duty when doing business with governments or pension plans.

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig