After coming close several times only have to required 60 Senate votes slip away, Democrats may have finally secured the passage of financial regulatory reform. The most recent hurdle came with the death of West Virginian Democratic Senator Robert Byrd. The bill, backed by President Obama, is intended to better regulate Wall Street and to prevent another global financial crisis. Here's how they may have done it, assuming nothing changes before the final votes are tallied.
- Two Republicans to the Rescue The Washington Post's Brady Dennis reports, "Two key Republicans said Monday that they plan to support a far-reaching bill to overhaul financial regulations, all but ensuring that the landmark legislation will sail through the Senate in coming days." They are Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe of Maine. "The landmark legislation now seems likely to land on the president's desk within days, giving Democrats an opportunity to proclaim during the coming election season that they acted to rein in the recklessness of Wall Street."
- Scott Brown Is the New Key To Everything The New Republic's Noam Scheiber writes, "As the 41st Republican in an institution that requires 60 out of 100 votes to pass legislation, he's had the power to stop, or at least massively slow down, everything from health care to financial reform. But Brown actually looms much larger than even this calculus would suggest. In his concerns, priorities, and, maybe most important, his confusion about the economy, Brown has come to represent the average voter in 2010. If Democrats are going to be successful this November, they'll have to figure out a way to seize the territory that Brown currently holds." Politico's Ben Smith calls Brown "the New McCain."
- Could Democrat Ben Nelson Sink It? Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler explains, "The bad news: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) explicitly told reporters this evening he's not committed to voting for the legislation, citing a handful of measures, and concern about potential future directors of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ... The suggestion is that Nelson wants input behind the scenes on who the White House might nominate to run the new agency." If Nelson doesn't get what he wants, he may vote no.
- ...But Byrd's Replacement Could Come This Weekend The Associated Press's Lawrence Messina reports, "West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin says he'll make a temporary appointment to the late Robert C. Byrd's Senate seat by Sunday.Manchin said Monday he could announce his pick as early as Friday." That replacement could be able to vote for financial regulatory reform, off-setting Nelson.
- Why Is Democrat Russ Feingold Still Voting No? Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown writes, "He's been a hero to liberals for voting against big banks, the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. But Sen. Russ Feingold's decision to become the only Democratic vote against Wall Street reform has left many questioning his strategy. ... he's been stubbornly, defiantly opposed to the legislation -- Feingold calls it a cave-in to Wall Street. ... But what really galls some on the left is that Feingold's resistance opened the door for deal making -- and Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown walked right through, making Brown the kingmaker on the bill that many on the left thought Feingold could have been."