Dodd to Leave Senate, Banking Committee Chair
[Update 1: adds Dodd's official announcement.] Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) on Wednesday said he will leave his post in Congress when his term expires and not seek reelection. The banking industry buzzed Wednesday morning with reports an announcement of Dodd's retirement was pending. A brief press conference held outside Dodd's home around noon confirmed the industry reports. In his comments, Dodd said: "Over the past 12 months, I have managed four major pieces of legislation through Congress; served as Chair and acting Chair of two major Senate Committees, placing me at the center of the two most importance issues of our time – health care and reform of financial services; lost a beloved sister in July and in August – Ted Kennedy; battled cancer over the summer; and in the midst of all this, found myself in the toughest political shape of my career." With his retirement, Congress will lose a principal pioneer of the Senate's financial regulatory reform bill, which would shutter large, complex financial companies in the event of failure without causing a panic or system-wide crisis. Dodd's proposed legislation also imposes new capital and leverage requirements and forces financial institutions to draft their own "funeral plans" or living wills. But a recent review of the legislation raises many concerns to the industry, chiefly the removal of much of the Federal Reserve's power, as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The bill also consolidates the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The news of Dodd's retirement from Congress comes as another Senator announced this week plans not to seek reelection. Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., announced on Tuesday he will not seek another six-year term after nearly 30 years of service in Congress. His decision was motivated by offers to write several books, as well as teaching opportunities and a desire to work on energy policy in the private sector, Dorgan said in a statement. He said he will finish his current term, marking 2010 as his last year in the Senate. Dorgan added: "We need to reform our financial system to make sure that which happened to cause this deep recession will not happen again. And we need to get our fiscal and budget policies under control. The federal budget deficits are not sustainable." Write to Diana Golobay.