Today, a conference committee begins hashing out differences between the House and Senate visions for financial regulatory reform. As Congress begins deliberations on another sweeping overhaul of a complex national system with broad, international implications, one would hope they are well informed about the bills over which they'll be haggling.
But just a week ago, a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission told billionaire investor Warren Buffett that "no one" has read the text of the financial regulatory reform bills, "including some of the co-sponsors."
Bill Thomas, former Republican Congressman and vice chairman of the commission, asked Buffett in a June 2 hearing what the Congress had gotten "mostly right" or wrong in financial regulatory reform. When Buffett confessed he had not read the "1500-page bills," Thomas told him no one had, so his admission was "a denial that's okay." Buffett smiles as staffers in the background chortle over the disclosure. Moments like these will not help Congress' all-time low rating among voters.
Click to watch the exchange, courtesy of the new and awesome C-SPAN video library:
The conference report, released today, is 1,974 pages. A helpful summary of the committee process and members is here. Today's session will only be opening statements, with more back-and-forth to begin next Tuesday. There will be a livestream of today's event here. Tune in to find out if they know much about what they're gathering to talk about.