Breaking down the cloture vote on Wall Street reform

by: Chris Bowers

Wed May 19, 2010 at 16:34

The first cloture vote on Wall Street was just attempted, but it failed, 57-42.

One of the "no" votes was Harry Reid.  In order to bring another cloture vote tomorrow (a "motion to reconsider"), he had to vote no.  So, he changed his vote at the last minute, after keeping the vote open for an hour trying to round up enough support for passage.

Arlen Specter did not vote, but will be around for votes tomorrow and Friday.  Along with Reid, that brings the total number of yes votes to 59, one short of passage.

Among Republicans, Snowe and Collins voted yes.  However, Democrats, Feingold and Cantwell canceled them out, by voting no.

Cantwell voted no because her amendment to reinstate Glass-Steagal has not received a vote.  The other four (mostly) progressive Democrats who had threatened to vote no--Dorgan, Harkin, Merkley and Levin--either will, or have, sorta, kinda, received votes on their amendments.  But not Cantwell, so she voted no.  Good for her.  There shouldn't be cloture until all strengthening amendments have been given a chance.

Feingold is either standing with Cantwell on Glass-Steagal, or he is just opposed to the bill because the Kaufman-Brown amendment to break up the big banks failed.  His statement:

"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."

In 1999, Senator Feingold was one of eight senators to vote against legislation tearing down the firewall between Main Street banks and Wall Street investment banks and insurance companies. In 2008, Feingold opposed the Wall Street bailout in part because it failed "to reform the flawed regulatory structure that permitted this crisis to arise in the first place.

There will be another cloture vote tomorrow or Friday.  Reid will need to either flip Cantwell or Feingold, or to find another Republican vote.  Hopefully, he will find that vote from Cantwell, either by giving her a vote to reinstate Glass-Steagal, or just by putting her amendment directly in the bill.

Update: At the post-vote press conference, Reid said "a senator broke his word with me." While he did not specify which one, rumor has it that Senator was Scott Brown.

Additionally, Cantwell is no longer saying that she is opposed to cloture because her Glass-Steagal amendment did not receive a vote.  Now, "she says the problem is a loophole in the derivatives piece that would not give penalty to trading off clearinghouses."

Chris Bowers :: Breaking down the cloture vote on Wall Street reform

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Go Feingold (4.00 / 2)
Showing why he's one of the few Sens worth a damn. He's been promising a filibuster for weeks.

In a fiery speech on the Senate floor, Russ Feingold conditioned his support for the Wall Street reform measure on adding a multitude of amendments that would break up the mega-banks, cap size and leverage and restore the firewall between commercial and investment banks. He even went so far as to say that he would not vote to end debate on the bill unless these and other serious banking reforms were part of it.

I want a public statement from Reid on why (0.00 / 0)
he won't just give a vote to the strengthening amendments.  

Screw him if he can't.  He's the one killing the Volker rule and Glass-Steagall.  Make him defend those decisions.  

Progressives should not support cloture until Glass-Steagall and Brown-Kauffman are part of the bill. (4.00 / 1)
Otherwise we are just saying it is OK that we have a financial system that can crash again like it did two years ago.


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