The fate of Wall Street reform

THE FATE OF WALL STREET REFORM…. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) scheduled the first procedural vote — the motion to proceed — on Wall Street reform for about 5 p.m. (ET) today. As of yesterday, Republicans were still prepared to voice their unanimous opposition, blocking the debate from getting underway.

Any chance Reid will scrap his plans, knowing that the GOP will block an up-or-down vote on getting the floor process started? Apparently not — Reid’s office insists today’s cloture vote will proceed as planned.

Democratic leaders have no expectations that today’s vote will go well. But as Roll Call reported, they also don’t seem to mind.

Rarely have Senate Democrats been so calm about losing a vote. And that’s what it looks like will happen in Monday’s showdown with Republicans over financial regulatory reform.

Still, Democrats are bringing with them several game plans to ensure that no matter the outcome, they emerge with the advantage.

With continued uncertainty about whether they can avoid a filibuster of the measure, Democrats said they are prepared to either excoriate Republicans for blocking needed Wall Street reforms or hold hands with them around a compromise bill heading into a two- to three-week floor debate. […]

“We’re unafraid of pushing ahead because even if we are on a collision course to having that vote without a deal, it just gets us onto a bill,” one senior Senate Democratic aide said. “Even if they do [filibuster] and the political chips fall where they may, we think we end up on the better end of that situation.”

Another Senate Democratic aide said Democrats are approaching the vote as “heads we win, tails you lose.”

It’s almost bizarre to see Dems acting with such confidence, but it’s well grounded in fact. If the motion to proceed fails, as seems likely, Dems will use this against Republicans, while the process of striking a bipartisan deal continues. By all accounts, Dems will eventually get the legislation they want and the evidence of GOP obstructionism they want.

Dems hardly ever feel like they have the upper hand. It’s quite a change of pace.

On a related note, polls bolster Democratic attitudes. A new poll from ABC News found, “Two-thirds of Americans support stricter federal regulation of banks and other financial institutions, and by a double-digit margin the public trusts President Obama above the Republicans in Congress to handle the issue.”