In a blow to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Senate voted
57-42 to continue debating a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. financial
sector. Reid had hoped to move the Senate toward a final vote but failed
because of two Democratic holdouts: Maria Cantwell of Washington and
Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Republicans looked to block
a vote on the
bill, seeking to scale back some of its provisions. Cantwell and
Feingold, however, wanted tougher restrictions including a firewall
between commercial banking and investment banking, and closing a
loophole in the derivatives trading language. What does this mean for
- All Bets Are Off, writes Alison Vekshin at Business Week:
"The Senate fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to proceed to
final action on the measure, throwing into doubt the strategy of Senate
Democrats to pass the bill this week and send it to be reconciled with
House legislation passed in December." The NPR news team adds, "A
successful vote to limit debate would have set up a timetable for a
final Senate vote by the end of the week. It's unclear now when that
vote might take place."
Because of Democratic Infighting, writes David Herszenhorn at The New
York Times: "The disagreement that mattered on Wednesday was among
Democrats, and the failed effort to close debate was a jarring setback
for Mr. Reid, who proved unable to address the concerns of all of his
caucus members, including some with serious policy concerns about the
legislation — even as he insisted that it was time to get to a final
vote and said Republicans were trying to delay."
I Voted No In a statement, Feingold explained himself:
"After thirty years of giving in to the wishes of Wall Street lobbyists,
Congress needs to finally enact tough reforms to prevent Wall Street
from driving our economy into the ditch again. We need to eliminate the
risk posed to our economy by 'too big to fail' financial firms and to
reinstate the protective firewalls between Main Street banks and Wall
Street firms. Unfortunately, these key reforms are not included in the
bill. The test for this legislation is a simple one - whether it will
prevent another financial crisis. As the bill stands, it fails that
test. Ending debate on the bill is finishing before the job is done."
What's Next? The Atlantic's Dan Indiviglio peers into the
future: "Another vote will almost certainly be held before the Memorial
Day recess, though it's unclear precisely when. You can probably expect
Democratic leadership will do whatever it can to satisfy Cantwell and
Feingold, however, since those are the only votes they need get the bill
through. And that also probably sheds some light on when the vote will
take place -- once those two Senators are on board. Given the
Republicans from Maine voting for cloture, the bill will almost
certainly pass in the days to come."
- This Will
Probably Make for a Better Bill, writes an optimistic Ezra Klein: "Debate on financial
regulation will continue. More amendments will be considered, at least
if Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement on whether to
consider them. And another cloture vote will have to be called. That
might be bad for the Senate schedule, but it's probably good for the
bill. This is the rare process in which the amendments are making the
legislation substantially better. If the Senate has to work over
Memorial Day to accommodate that process, so be it."
- Also To Be Decided The AP notes, "Still left for the Senate to address are whether to exclude auto dealers
from the oversight of a consumer financial protection bureau."
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