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Wall Street reform finale expected this week

By Jennifer Liberto, senior writer


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate is entering the final stretch of its work on the Wall Street reform bill, which aims to stop bailouts, shine a light on complex financial products and strengthen consumer protection.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Monday that he would consider forcing a final vote later this week.

The legislation, which has been through numerous ups and downs over many months, remains a moving target. But many lobbyists and veteran congressional watchers say they expect it to pass the Senate by Friday.

If that happens, leaders of the Senate and House -- which passed its own bill in December -- would likely hole up behind closed doors to negotiate differences between the two bills next week. The Senate and House would have to then each vote on the legislation one last time before President Obama signs it.

A couple hundred amendments have been filed to the already massive Senate bill, but most will not be considered.

The Senate may work well into the evening several days this week. On Monday night, lawmakers approved an amendment mandating that credit bureaus provide free credit scores to consumers in some cases.

Later in the week, the Senate will likely vote to strip the bill of a provision that would bar banks from trading derivatives if they want access to cheap emergency loans that the Federal Reserve makes available.

The Senate is also expected to vote on a controversial amendment that would exempt auto loans from tougher rules governing other consumer financial products.

The bill would establish a consumer financial protection regulatory agency that could write new rules to protect consumers from unfair or abusive mortgages and credit cards.

It would also create a council of regulators that would sound an alarm before companies are in position to trigger a financial crisis. Finally, the bill would establish new procedures for shutting down giant financial firms that are collapsing. To top of page

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