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Senator Dodd Mulls Presidential Run, Sets Banking Agenda January 9, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the new chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said Tuesday he will decide within a few days whether to set up an exploratory committee to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Speaking at the Wall Street Project Economic Summit sponsored by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which earlier this week heard from presumptive candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Dodd laid out a preliminary agenda for the banking committee – which has authority over the Securities and Exchange Commission and banking regulators.

He said he intends to hold hearings on “predatory lending” practices that “can cost certain customers thousands of dollars over a lifetime” in mortgage and credit card costs that wealthier Americans avoid. The consumer practice hearings also will cover lack of access to loans, the Connecticut legislator said.

After his talk, Dodd told reporters he also intends to hold hearings on shareholder rights issues, which could include probes of compensation practices on Wall Street. He noted the irony of “Christmas bonuses that exceed the budgets of some communities” at a time when many Democrats have spent years waging a battle to raise the minimum wage and when “1.1 million people may lose their homes this year” through mortgage foreclosures.

“This matter is certainly something we are going to look at,” he said. “Shareholders should have a greater say.”

Dodd, who sat next to Rev. Al Sharpton, another presumptive Democratic candidate, on the conference dais, drew the loudest cheers during his talk when he addressed credit card lending. He indirectly criticized the high-rate loans and promotional offers sometimes made to minority group borrowers.

“Some of the practices being used by the banking community are going to be stopped on my watch,” he said.

Dodd told reporters he has not yet set an agenda for the banking committee hearings. He declined comment on his presidential ambitions, he said he expects to make an announcement within a few days.

In his talk, he blasted the Bush administration’s expected plans to send more soldiers to Iraq to fight a war “that was based, to put it mildly, on faulty intelligence,” while ignoring “issues right here at home that deserve our attention.”

He complained to reporters that the $400 billion cost of the war so far has been financed through emergency spending allocations that bypassed Congress.

By Jed Horowitz, Dow Jones Newswires


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