Senate Democrats had hoped to get their financial regulatory reform bill through a key test vote for cloture on Wednesday. It failed, and the legislation appeared stalled. But a vote Thursday afternoon succeeded in clearing the hurdle, moving the legislation one big step closer to passage. Democrats were joined by Republican Senators Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins. Democrats Maria Cantwell and Russ Feingold voted against, saying they wished to make further amendments before proceeding. Here are the first reactions.
- 'The Glide Path' The New York Times' David Herszenhorn is optimistic. "The Senate voted on Thursday afternoon to close debate on a far-reaching financial regulatory bill, putting Congress on a glide path to approving a broad expansion of government oversight of the increasingly complex financial markets that is intended to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic crisis."
- The Next 30 Hours Think Progress' Pat Garofalo maps them out. "There will now be 30 hours of post-cloture debate, including votes on an amendment proposed by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) that would exempt auto dealers from new consumer protections and an amendment proposed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) that would ban banks from proprietary trading."
- Too Many Sacrifices The Washington Post's Ezra Klein worries, "the end policy here is not a particularly good one: It creates another place in the system where risks can migrate, and though the systemic regulator could step in if it sees things getting out of control, there's no assurance that it will step in. Meanwhile, Maria Cantwell was pushing for enforceable language on derivatives, and her concerns still haven't been met. So getting to the finish line here took the form of freeing financial institutions from regulations rather than making the bill stronger."
- The Big Challenge: Conference The Atlantic's Dan Indiviglio explains, "The final vote should pass fairly easily. If cloture got 60 votes, it's hard to imagine that the final bill -- which only needs 50 -- could fail. Once the Senate passes the bill, it must then be reconciled with the House version passed in December. That conference process can take anywhere from a week to months. But since Democrats are motivated to get financial reform finalized quickly, you can expect them to work hard to find a bill agreeable to both houses. But given some of the significant differences between the two pieces of legislation, that won't be easy."
- ...Senate Bill Will Dominate Time's Adam Sorensen anticipates, "After a final vote on the Senate bill, the legislation will likely be combined with a bill passed by the House last year. The politics and substance of financial reform have undergone significant shifts since then, and the final product will probably hew more toward the upper chamber's bill. There is a possibility the House merely passes the Senate language as is, but there's no indication that's currently being considered."