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March 12, 2013

Senate's Odd Couple Takes on 'Too Big to Fail'

Sens. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat, and David Vitter, a conservative Republican, rarely agree on contentious issues, but the two lawmakers have forged an unlikely partnership targeting the country’s largest banks.

The Senate’s latest odd couple say their alliance to end “too big to fail” took root last summer during a Banking Committee hearing with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, when the two realized they shared an interest in raising capital standards on big banks.

“[Vitter] was asking … about capital standards and pressed [Bernanke] pretty hard. I remember turning around to [my staffer] and saying, ‘that’s pretty interesting,'” Brown said in an interview last week. “And I just went over and talked to him and said ‘Do you want to work on some of this? Because I agree with you,’ and that sort of began the relationship. I knew him, but didn’t know him very well before that.”

The Ohio Democrat and Louisiana Republican have since written several joint letters to Bernanke and other regulators about higher capital standards and requested a Government Accountability Office study measuring the economic benefits of “too big to fail.””

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Read full American Banker article here

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