If Senate leadership can overcome a Republican filibuster and begin debate on Wall Street reform, a group of Democratic senators will be ready with amendments to strengthen the bill on the floor, testing just how far centrist and conservative Democrats are willing to go to rein in the financial industry.
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman will be pushing for an amendment curtailing the activity of the biggest banks and breaking many of them up. The amendment would limit the size of a bank's total assets to two percent of GDP and cap the insured deposits that one institution could control at ten percent of the aggregate.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) has committed to introducing an amendment to create an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency, rather than one housed within the Fed or another regulator.
Reed also has an amendment that would close the loophole in Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) current bill allowing private equity and venture capital to avoid registering with and reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hedge funds have a similar loophole that will likely be attacked on the floor.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) will push to include what's known as the Volcker Rule -- legislation that would bar banks from engaging in trading for their own benefit rather than that of a client.
With a variant of the Levin-Merkley amendment, Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) will make an effort to reinstate Glass-Steagall.