Taxpayer bailouts banned for ailing US finance firms

KEY US lawmakers yesterday reached agreement on dismantling large financial firms that get into trouble, as momentum accelerated in the Senate toward passage of a landmark Wall Street reform bill.

The agreement came amid several adjustments aimed at building support for the main reform bill, which Senate Democrats hope to push through by mid May.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on the floor he hoped the Senate would finish its work as early as next week, which would give Democrats a significant legislative victory ahead of the November congressional elections.

The first votes on amendments to the 1,600-page bill were slated for later yesterday, leading off with one saying that taxpayer funds could not be used again to bail out financial institutions. It looked likely to gain wide support. A more controversial proposal, to force banks out of the swap-trading business, appeared to be losing steam.