Mr. DODD. Let me begin by thanking the majority leader for his work. I thank the minority leader as well. This has been a bit acrimonious over the last 10 days or so as we tried to get to the floor with this bill.
Of course I thank Richard Shelby. He and I, as he points out, have been working together over the last about 37 months during my stewardship of the Banking Committee that I inherited in January of 2007.
I noted the other day there are some 42 measures we brought out of our committee and 37 of them have become the law of the land. This is a good result. We will now be on this bill, which the American people want us to be on. This is an important issue. As I pointed out this morning, we had the headlines, the hearings here yesterday involving mortgage deals and the other headlines about Greece and its debt. Its bonds were sinking, causing economic problems in Europe and potentially here.
These problems are huge. As Senator Shelby has said and I have said over and over, this is a complex area of law we are talking about and it has to be gotten right. We have had very good conversations on a number of issues, but on this over many weeks, going back, obviously, and clearly we both share, as everyone does in this Chamber, our determination that we never again have institutions that become too big to fail where there is that implicit guarantee that the Federal Government will bail them out.
I am satisfied that our bill does that already, but I appreciate that there are others who would like to see it tighter, who think we can do more to make it better and more workable. I am anxious to hear them.
I know our colleague from California, Barbara Boxer, has some ideas on this as well that she has raised and I mentioned those with my friend from Alabama. He has raised issues with me that I like as well, and he can help us get there. As he rightly points out, we have not sealed anything but we have had great conversations, as two people of good will can have, that I think will allow us to get there.
We are going to have a very busy couple of weeks coming up now. There are a lot of Members who have very strong feelings about this bill. My job--our job--will be to see to it people have a chance to offer their amendments, to debate them, to go through that process.
I may sound pretty old-fashioned in this regard. I pointed out last night, I first got involved in this Chamber as a young person sitting here in the same outfits as these young people in their blue suits, as a page, watching Lyndon Johnson sitting in that chair where you are, Mr. President, and watching Mike Mansfield in that chair over here and Everett Dirkson in that chair.
I remember sitting there and listening to the debates on civil rights in the early 1960s, when this Chamber, in difficult moments, worked together to achieve great results for our country. I have great reverence for this institution and I want to see it work as our Founders intended, where you have a great, important debate--and this is one--that we work together as American citizens chosen by our respective States to represent them in this great hall. That is what I intend to do as the manager of this bill, to make sure that each and every one of my colleagues--whether they sit on this side of the aisle or that side of the aisle--are all in this Chamber together to try to improve the quality of life for the people who have been so badly hurt, homes [Page: S2750] lost, jobs that have evaporated, retirement accounts that disappeared for people. They want to see us work together to get a job done to make a difference for our country and I firmly believe we can do that. I will do my very best, I say to my friend from Alabama, I say to the minority leader, as I said to the majority leader, to act with fairness, to work together to try to resolve matters so we can have a good outcome on this bill.
Obviously we cannot predict that. I know there are some who want to make this a great fight--that this is a great, great issue, maybe, for the day or the week you do it--who wins, who loses. That is a great story. But this is not an athletic contest we are involved in. It is a decision to try to put our country on a far more sound and secure footing than it is today. I look forward to the opportunity to work, as I have, with Senator Shelby. We are good friends. I admire him immensely.
He was chairman of this committee before I was. He understands the job of being a chairman.
I am determined to get this job right. I encourage our colleagues who have ideas and amendments to come forward and share them with us. We are going to set up shop over the weekend to make sure we are there. So we have ideas to consider, accept, maybe modify, make it work right. If that spirit comes forward we can do a good job here and we can leave this Chamber at the end of this Congress, knowing we confronted a serious problem and stepped up to the best of our ability to try to solve it for the people we seek to represent.
Again, I thank the majority leader and the staff and others for their work. I thank Senator Shelby in his work. This conversation will continue. We have a lot of work to do. It has been very worthwhile and very productive over these last number of weeks and we intend to keep it in that form. I thank the minority leader as well and the Republican Conference. I know it must have been probably a healthy, good, vibrant conversation for the last hour and a half in there. But for those who question whether we can do this, I want this institution to get back again to the idea of listening to each other, debating the issues, taking our votes and putting together the best product we can.
I yield the floor.