WRAPUP 1-Wall Street bill nears the finish line in Congress

* Sweeping measure likely to clear Senate hurdle

* Final passage expected by the weekend

* Public divided on its effectiveness

By Andy Sullivan and Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, July 15 (BestGrowthStock) – The broadest overhaul of
U.S. financial rules since the Great Depression is likely to
clear a crucial hurdle in Congress on Thursday morning, paving
the way for President Barack Obama to sign the measure into
law.

Democrats are expected to muster the 60 votes they need —
if just barely — to advance the legislation in a vote likely
to take place around 11 a.m. (1430 GMT).

Final approval in Congress could come soon after, though
Republicans who oppose the measure could delay a final vote
until Friday evening.

The House of Representatives has already approved the bill,
which tightens regulation across the financial industry in an
effort to avoid a repeat of the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

With Republicans poised for big gains in the November
congressional elections, Democrats are eager to show voters
that they are cracking down on an industry that touched off the
worst recession in 70 years.

The bill “substantially reduces the risk the financial
markets will cause the economy to implode again, and it
empowers consumers and small businesses to make better
financial choices,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said on the
Senate floor on Wednesday.

It is not clear whether voters will give them credit.

Nearly half of those surveyed in a Bloomberg poll released
on Tuesday believe the bill will do more to protect the
financial industry than consumers, while only 38 percent
believe it will protect consumers more.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll also released on Tuesday
found 50 percent disapproving of the way Obama has handled
financial reform, with 44 percent approving.

The bill has also won Democrats few friends on Wall Street
as wealthy donors have started to steer more campaign
contributions to Republicans.

FEW CORNERS OF INDUSTRY UNTOUCHED

The Dodd-Frank bill — named for chief authors Senator
Christopher Dodd and Representative Barney Frank — leaves few
corners of the financial industry untouched.

Mortgage brokers, student lenders and other financial firms
would have to answer to a new consumer-protection authority,
though auto dealers will escape scrutiny.

Regulators will have new power to seize and dismantle
troubled firms and impose leverage limits on firms that
threaten financial stability.

Large banks would face new limits on risky trading
activities, and many would have to set aside more capital to
help them ride out times of crisis.

Large private-equity and hedge funds will face more
scrutiny from federal regulators, and credit-rating agencies
could potentially see their entire business model upended.

Much of the $615 trillion over-the-counter derivatives
market will be routed through more accountable and transparent
channels, and banks would have to spin off the riskiest of
their swaps clearing desk operations.

WRAPUP 1-Wall Street bill nears the finish line in Congress