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Wall Street is now!

Time to reform Wall Street is now

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) — The head of a key banking panel on Monday released a draft bill of sweeping regulatory changes aimed at warding off future collapses in the financial system.

The bill put forth by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., would create a new

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“We must plug the gaps and eliminate the inefficiencies that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place,” Dodd said in a news conference.

The bill also includes a version of the controversial rule proposed by former Fed chairman Paul Volcker — and heralded by President Obama — aimed at prohibiting financial firms from owning hedge funds or from engaging in proprietary trading on their own accounts.

But the Senate proposal isn’t as strong as some were expecting and would create an oversight panel that would have leeway to set rules.

Tight timeline

Dodd wants the banking committee to consider the bill next week and vote before the next congressional recess, which is scheduled to start March 29. He wants to ensure the regulatory overhaul makes it to the Senate floor before the last week of May, because midterm elections could complicate getting a final agreement.

The House passed a version of regulatory reform in December.

Late Monday, Republicans started blasting Dodd’s speedy process and decrying the bill’s length, which comes in at more than 1,300 pages.

“Forcing the banking committee to vote on this proposal in a single week is unrealistic and undercuts the potential for bipartisan agreement,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the lead Republican on that panel.

Meanwhile, the White House, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and several Senate Democrats on the banking panel all issued statements signaling support.

“Chairman Dodd’s bill modernizes regulations for the financial industry while also preventing future […]