Note: three updates below
Quick update on where things stand:
Reid seems to think he has the votes for cloture tomorrow
Harry Reid implies that cloture on Wall Street reform will pass tomorrow:
At his weekly press availability this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted that several Republicans will break from their party tomorrow morning, likely thwarting a financial reform filibuster.
"A number of senators, Republican senators, have told me they will vote for cloture," Reid said.
Notably, earlier today Republican Bob Croker predicted that "four or five" Republicans will support cloture.
Carper amendment passes, with adjustments
Carper's amendment on pre-empting state authority to enforce financial regulations passed, 80-18. There were some adjustments to the amendment as part of a compromise with the Senate leadership and White House (which opposed the Carper amendment in its original form). Not clear how much the compromise improved the Carper amendment, but this definitely seems like a case of Democrats compromising with themselves.
New Republican strategy: run out the clock on strengthening amendments
If both sides think there are enough votes for cloture, and with progressives have some success with strengthening amendments so far, Republican strategy appears to have shifted. Instead of trying to stop the entire bill, which they can't seem to do, now they are aiming to stop any more strengthening amendments from passing.
This is why Republicans denied unanimous consent to proceed on two key strengthening amendments: the Merkley-Levin amendment to reinstate the Volcker rule, and Byron Dorgan's amendment to end naked credit default swaps. Democrats even offered a 60-vote threshold on Merkley-Levin, but Republicans denied unanimous consent anyway. Amendments cannot be voted on without unanimous consent.
The Republican objections are a pretty good sign that they are afraid both amendments would pass, just as they were afraid that the Menendez amendment on raising liability of oil companies on spills would pass (they also denied unanimous consent to that amendment). Even if the vote count on Merkley-Levin was very close, especially at a 60-vote threshold, Republicans had good reason to be afraid. Amendments were (usually) running in favor of strengthening the bill.
David Dayen has the solution to this: Chris Dodd (who in managing the bill), just put any strengthening amendments Republicans block into the manager's amendment.
In addition to CSPAN2, Good places to follow the unfolding situation on financial reform on twitter include, but are not limited to:
Update--Dorgan to get a vote?: Dorgan seems to have managed to file his amendment in a way that will guarantee it a vote after cloture is secured tomorrow morning. Pretty impressive procedural maneuvering, if it holds up.
Update 2--Really need a runoff in Arkansas: What I am hearing is that the derivatives portion of the bill is set to be gutted through a wide range of exemptions. The best way to prevent that from happening would be if Bill Halter forces Lincoln into a June 8th runoff tonight. Democrats had previously seemed unwilling to gut Lincoln's derivatives language through a wide range of exemptions when she was facing a primary challenge from the left.
Need to keep Lincoln's numbers under 50% tonight...
Update 3--Dodd offers compromise that guts derivatives language: Right on cue, Dodd offers derivatives compromise.
Update 4--Levin "not inclined to vote for cloture": Michigan Democrat Carl Levin now sayd that he is "not inclined to vote for cloture" without a vote on the Merkley-Levin amendment to reinstate the Volcker rule.