Last night, the House passed the final version of a bill intended to enhance enforcement of financial crimes, one of the provisions of which will create a 10-member commission to investigate the causes of the financial crisis. The vote was 338 to 52.
"While the Commission undertakes its investigation," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon passage of the legislation, "Chairman Barney Frank and the House Financial Services Committee will continue their ongoing work to reform federal oversight of our financial markets, and to reform lending practices to protect consumers."
The Senate passed the same version of the bill last week, and the President is expected to sign it short order. During deliberations between House and Senate leaders to resolve differences between the bills, negotiators made one potentially important change to the commission's guidelines, which now require that at least one member appointed by the Senate or House Minority Leader assent to the issuance of subpoenas, should they be necessary to compel testimony or other evidence. Whether that impacts the functioning of the commission will depend, I suppose, on how many subpoenas turn out to be necessary, and how much the Republican appointees resemble their appointers in Congress.