Financial Reform Talks Enter Final, Frantic Stages

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)

U.S. lawmakers today enter the final negotiations to complete the historic overhaul of the country's financial regulations. The focus is firmly on controversial provisions to limit banks' trading businesses and investments in private equity and hedge funds.

Lawmakers have set themselves the deadline of Thursday night to reconcile the two versions passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Some lawmakers are objecting to provisions aimed at restraining banks, saying they'll hurt some institutions, such as insurance companies and mutual funds. Others worry that consumer-protection measures will end up hurting small businesses.

"I dredge votes on the floor of the U.S. Senate," lead Senate negotiator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn., pictured) told Reuters. "I come back, and I feel like a bulletin board -- I've got notes stuck in every pocket."