Washington (CNNMoney.com) - With Congress perhaps just weeks away from finishing Wall Street reform, the key financial players are just now realizing who's poised to win and lose from the legislation.
The Senate passed its bill last week, and the House finished in December. Only a few questions remain in play, as key lawmakers from both chambers begin the process of reconciling differences in an effort to gain final passage and a presidential signing ceremony by July 4.
Experts believe the biggest losers are Wall Street banks, and the biggest winners are consumers, as well as credit unions and smaller community banks.
"It was quite a success," White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said in an interview last Friday, heralding gains for consumers. "It's the toughest, strongest consumer protection we've ever had in this country on financial stuff."
TOPICS: Barack Obama, 2010 midterm elections
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Tax reform. For years, economists, tax experts and lawmakers have pushed for it, to no avail.
But now there is a bipartisan tax reform proposal from two prominent senators that has earned praise in policy circles and may jump-start serious consideration of the idea over the next year - a year marked by growing concern over U.S. debt.
Done right, experts say, tax reform should simplify the tax code, increase fairness and apply taxes at lower rates to a broader base of activities.
Among the goals: decrease tax avoidance and increase economic competitiveness.
The Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2010 - put together by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., - arguably could do much of that to some degree.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel to the Gulf Coast on Friday to review oil spill response efforts, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Gibbs and two other administration officials confirmed Tuesday that Obama will visit Louisiana coastal areas. Gibbs said Obama will travel there from Chicago, Illinois, where the first family will be spending the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The trip will be Obama's second to the area since the April 20 oil rig explosion and fire set off the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Obama first went there on May 2, when he toured the disaster area by helicopter and met with top regional officials and local fishermen impacted by the spill.
Updated: 3:01 p.m.
–CNN's Dan Lothian and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Lawmakers tore in to administration officials Tuesday, saying the law that may limit BP's liability for economic damages to $75 million needs to be changed retroactively.
"A year from now the TV cameras will not be there, and some fisherman will go try to get damages from BP, a multibillion dollar company," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. "He won't stand a chance."
Representatives from the Obama administration said they support eliminating the cap on liabilities for large operations, but do not feel it's needed retroactively.
BP's public comments that it will not seek protection under the cap, plus the uncertainty that the cap would apply in the BP case anyway, makes a retroactive change unnecessary, the administration said.
(CNN) - With California's primary elections two weeks away and a 50-point lead over State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner down to single digits, one of Meg Whitman's top advisors said Tuesday her gubernatorial campaign is "leaving nothing to chance."
"We are running a highly integrated and targeted campaign," Jeff Randle, Whitman's senior advisor, told reporters Tuesday during a conference call in which he and Whitman's chief strategist detailed the campaign's volunteer and advertising efforts.
Randle said their effort to rally likely voters in the weeks leading up to the election includes a massive volunteer operation that he called "the largest volunteer organization that any Republican candidate for governor has ever put together."
Randle said that the campaign had recruited 19,646 volunteers as of this weekend. They operate in all of California's 58 counties, staff five field offices and have made over 300,000 phone calls to date, according to Randle.
According to a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey released last week, Whitman holds 38 to 29 point lead over Poizner, but 31 percent of voters say they are undecided. A PPIC survey conducted in March had Whitman leading Poizner by a 61 to 11 percent margin.
"We have zero complacency in the campaign," said Mike Murphy, Whitman's chief strategist. "We always run like we're five to 10 points behind."
Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET with a statement from Poizner communications director Jarrod Agen: “Meg Whitman has blown $80 million and squandered a 50-point lead because she’s tied closely to Goldman Sachs and Republicans don’t trust her to be strong on illegal immigration. After an unprecedented number of attack ads haven’t worked for Whitman, she’s now clinging to phone banks as her last chance. There is only one grassroots conservative candidate in this race and its Steve Poizner.”
(CNN) - CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin is being honored Tuesday night for her distinctive reporting as a recipient of a prestigious Gracie Award for Outstanding Hard News Feature.
Yellin is being recognized for a series of stories she reported last year on "Political Women" looking closely at the role of women in politics and examining whether they are treated differently on the national scene versus men. Among the topics she examined: Whether there was a different standard being applied to former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the decision by Caroline Kennedy to pull out of consideration for an appointment to the U.S. Senate and the proportion of female cabinet appointees by the incoming Obama White House.
Among the others being recognized at the event in Beverly Hills, California are HLN's Robin Meade, NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, and ABC's Barbara Walters, as well as actresses Glenn Close, Drew Barrymore and Sharon Gless.
The Alliance of Women in Media sponsors the annual Gracie Awards, which recognize what it calls exemplary programming created for, by and about women in all aspects of the media, television, and radio, and ranging from news to drama to comedy to public service and documentaries and sports.
Washington (CNN) - The number two Democrat in the Senate, who has close ties to the White House, is urging Rep. Joe Sestak to come clean.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told CNN Tuesday that the Pennsylvania Democrat should fully explain whether Obama administration officials pressed him to drop his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in exchange for a job.
Related: CNN's John King on Sestak, the WH
"At some point I thing Congressman Sestak needs to make it clear what happened," Durbin told CNN. Sestak has refused to reveal whom he spoke with at the White House about a job offer.
Sestak made the claim in February when he was still trailing Specter, who had the backing of the White House, in the polls. Sestak captured the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nomination last week.
Aides to President Obama have acknowledged that conservations took place between White House aides and Sestak during the campaign, but said nothing improper took place. Still, administration officials have also refused to divulge who talked to Sestak.
Washington (CNN) - On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of New Jersey heard a case brought by Tea party activists and conservatives hoping to oust New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez from his job.
The state's highest court heard arguments from the New Jersey Tea Party Patriots, and other conservative groups, on whether or not voters can recall the Democratic senator, who has two years left in his term. Among those participating in the case is Richard Luzzi, President of the Morristown Tea Party and a Republican candidate for Congress.
The activists cite Menendez's votes for the recently passed health care law, and his support of government spending, as reasons to recall him.
"By recalling Senator Menendez we are saying No to insane spending that has brought our state and our nation to the brink of bankruptcy," a website for Recall NJ states.
Their arguments must clear a big hurdle: do voters in a state have the right to recall a federal elected official?
Washington (CNN) - Federal inspectors overseeing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico accepted meals and tickets to sporting events from companies they monitored, according to a new report from the Interior Department's inspector general.
In one case, an inspector in the Minerals Management Service office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, conducted inspections of four offshore platforms while negotiating a job with the company, the report states. Others in the same office accepted tickets to the 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, a college football bowl game. One inspector said, "Everyone has gotten some sort of gift before at some point" from companies they regulated, according to the report.
"Through numerous interviews, we found a culture where the acceptance of gifts from oil and gas companies were widespread throughout that office," the report states. But that culture waned after a supervisor in the agency's New Orleans, Louisiana, regional office was fired for taking a gift from a regulated company in 2007.