In addition to the credit card bill, before Memorial Day the President will in all likelihood sign a bill giving the federal government more tools to fight financial fraud. It cleared the House yesterday after having cleared the Senate. But the financial fraud tools matter less to me than the provision in the bill authorizing an investigation into the causes of the financial crisis, which has the potential to turn into a modern-day Pecora Commission, offering evidence and recommndations on fixing the economic system. One catch, however:
The Senate passed the same version of the bill last week, and the President is expected to sign it short order. During deliberations between House and Senate leaders to resolve differences between the bills, negotiators made one potentially important change to the commission's guidelines, which now require that at least one member appointed by the Senate or House Minority Leader assent to the issuance of subpoenas, should they be necessary to compel testimony or other evidence. Whether that impacts the functioning of the commission will depend, I suppose, on how many subpoenas turn out to be necessary, and how much the Republican appointees resemble their appointers in Congress.
How many people expect the House minority to select wise moderate appointees who want to engage in a dogged, uncompromising investigation?
Oh well, it was a good idea...