published Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Magee: Sen. Corker's reform role should come as no surprise

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Since U.S. Sen. Bob Corker several years ago took along to Washington, D.C., a promise of working across party lines, it comes as no surprise that he's now stepping up to the plate on important legislation to build bipartisan consensus.

By stepping up on the banking reform package -- a package stalemated in Congress by heightened political polarization -- Sen. Corker, R-Tenn., is backing up his words with action, working to find the middle ground with legislation that Republicans and Democrats might support.

Considering the circumstances, his timing could not be better.

Reforms are needed in Washington to make sure a replay of last year's federal government bailouts does not recur, and they are needed fast so banks can get back to the business of lending, ultimately fueling jobs growth through small-business expansion. But the government has to be careful not to overreact in crafting reforms so free-economy ideals are not sucked away into a bureaucratic vacuum.

When important issues such as banking reform have so much at stake, finding a bipartisan solution is never easy. Yet Sen. Corker, a relative newcomer to the Senate Banking Committee, has two important qualities on his side suggesting he's just the man for the job.

One, he has experience and understanding as a businessman and political leader who knows that forward progress comes only when opposing sides whittle away differences to find common ground.

Two, he is willing.

If it sounds simple, it's not. Reforming America's financial system is one of President Barack Obama's top priorities. His inability to get proposed legislation through the banking committee because of Republican opposition has been a sore subject in Washington -- the new president promising change but unable to get it done.

Sen. Corker, however, understands banks need to get this issue behind them before they can focus on the challenge that matters most -- serving American citizens through the financial lending that is vital to job growth. That's why he stepped up in the last week, working with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., to find that bipartisan sweet spot.

E-mail David Magee at

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hotdiggity said...

I wish I could share your enthusiasm with Mr. Corker. But his first act is to denounce an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

Of course Mr. Corker will extol the evils of having an agency that's independent. Far be it to have an agency that would not be under the influence of the very institutions it is suppose to regulate. Is it any surprise that all the financial institutions are against this freestanding agency?

His quote of Feb. 12 says it all..."Like most Republicans, I believe a standalone agency for consumer protection or separating those protections from safety and soundness are nonstarters".

Congrats Mr. Corker, by standing with "most Republicans", you have passed the party purity test. What you have not passed is any sense that you want bi-partisanship or real consumer protection.

Pardon me Mr. Magee if I do not share your hope that Mr. Corker is looking for real reform. As a newcomer to the Senate he will not alienate himself from his party by supporting true consumer protection. Sad.

February 14, 2010 at 5:09 p.m.
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