Dodd-Frank tensions headline Senate hearing

By Sarah N. Lynch and Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON | Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:34pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans escalated their push to delay and defund the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms on Thursday as top regulators warned the Senate Banking Committee of a staff and funding crunch.

The chiefs of major agencies that are writing hundreds of rules mandated by Dodd-Frank told the panel at a hearing that they need more money to carry out the law, which was approved following the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Regulators also gave some glimpses into their thinking on implementation of Dodd-Frank rules involving debit card fees and subjecting large financial firms to stricter oversight, as well as on dealing with the mortgage servicing scandal.

For investors and Wall Street, the Senate hearing represented another act in a long-running drama that analysts expect will lead to few, if any, changes in the Dodd-Frank reforms due to political gridlock ahead of the 2012 elections.

“Republicans will argue in favor of extending implementation of (Dodd-Frank) … but these are timing issues and won’t affect the substance of the rules,” said Brian Gardner, analyst at investment firm Keefe Bruyette & Woods.

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