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Senate Dems Move To Curb Fed's Powers

ANNE FLAHERTY

WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Senate Democrats on Tuesday proposed stripping the Federal Reserve of its supervisory powers and creating instead three new federal agencies to police banks, protect consumers and dismantle failing institutions.

The 1,136-page bill, released by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, would represent a significant shift in power in federal oversight of the U.S. market. The Fed has been a dominant figure in managing the economy, although many lawmakers blame the central bank for not doing enough to prevent last year's crisis.

"We saw over the last number of years when (the Fed) took on consumer protection responsibilities and the regulation of bank holding companies, it was an abysmal failure," said Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat.

Dodd's proposal prompted cheers from consumer advocates and other Democrats, including Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., an influential moderate who said swift action was necessary to prevent future government bailouts of big banks.

"Never again should the American taxpayers have to hear about 'too big to fail,' where the American taxpayer has to pick up the slack," Warner said.

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