Efforts to avoid another global financial crisis began with a focus on the interconnectedness of financial firms. Most of the panic in the markets was sparked by a concern about counterparties. Now, lawmakers are debating points such as the definition of proprietary trading and where to house a consumer-protection agency. To some, Congress has gotten bogged down in the minutiae and the politics, losing sight of the big picture. "The political messaging has overtaken the substance," said Scott Talbott, senior vice president for government affairs at The Financial Services Roundtable.