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GOP Again Sustains Filibuster of Financial Reform

April 27, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Expect to see this headline over and over. In lieu of a breakthrough bipartisan deal, the Democrats are planning to hold procedural votes every day on ending a Republican filibuster of debating the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. They’re not planning on stopping until the Republicans give up or a deal is struck.

For the second night in a row, the Senate voted 57-41 against beginning debate. Sixty votes were needed for passage. Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] broke ranks and voted with the GOP again (apparently he still hasn’t had time to read the bill) and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] voted against the motion again in order to preserve his right to bring it up for another vote under Senate rules.

The Democrats are going to have to peel off two votes from the GOP (plus Nelson) to get the bill to the floor. The Hill updates on the status of bipartisan negotiations:

The top Republican negotiator on financial regulatory reform legislation said Tuesday that the form of the bill’s consumer agency in the “biggest obstacle” keeping the two sides from making a deal.

Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that if Democrats meet the GOP “halfway” on the so-called Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), an agreement could be struck soon.

“The biggest obstacle is probably the consumer agency and the reach and the scope of it right now,” Shelby told reporters at the Capitol. “If they will meet us halfway on that, I think we could get a bill.”

The Republicans have two main objections with how Senate Democrats have structured their proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. They want bank regulators to have more veto power over rules the Agency makes and they want to remove a provision that would give state attorneys general authority to file suits on violations of the Agency’s rules. Presumably, when Shelby says “meet us halfway” he means the Democrats conceding on one of these two.

Sen. Bob Corker [R, TN], who is seen as one of the Republicans possibly amenable to a deal with the Democrats, said after the vote that he’s not optimistic about a bipartisan deal. “I don’t feel like there’s a real possibility in the near future of getting a bipartisan bill. …. I just don’t feel that’s a possibility,” he said.

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