GOP TO DEMS: NO VOTE FOR YOU…. As expected, the Senate leadership tried to bring a Wall Street reform package to the floor for a debate late yesterday. And as expected, Senate Republicans voted unanimously to prevent that debate from getting underway.
The final vote was 57 to 41, with two GOP senators not voting. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska joined with Republicans (more on that later) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote for purely procedural reasons — by voting against it, he’ll be able to bring back to the floor again.
President Obama issued a fairly aggressive statement after the vote.
“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin. Some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether. But the American people can’t afford that.
“A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees, and helped cause the pain that has left millions of Americans without jobs and without homes. The reform that both parties have been working on for a year would prevent a crisis like this from happening again, and I urge the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party.”
So, now what? Roll Call reports that the Dems’ strategy hasn’t changed.
Senate Democrats got exactly what they wanted Monday night: a concrete way to try to tar Republicans as beholden to Wall Street schemers who would put the country in danger of another financial industry collapse. [….]
Despite their one defection, Democrats seemed to be thinking about all the campaign ads they could run in November against Republicans, and they appeared unconcerned about whether a bipartisan financial regulatory reform measure will ever materialize…. At press time, Democrats were hatching plans to vote on the measure again Tuesday and possibly Wednesday and Thursday as well. [….]
It was unclear whether the Democrats’ hardball tactics would adversely affect bipartisan negotiations, and Democrats appeared to be hoping that their drumbeat of votes and rhetorical jabs would force GOP opponents into submission — with or without a compromise.
For now, then, the Wall Street reform bill will stay right where it is, waiting for a vote on the motion to proceed. There are some other things Senate Dems would like to try to do this week, but depending on the status of the bipartisan talks, it’s likely the Senate will just be in limbo for a while. The hope among Democrats is that the longer the spotlight is on this reform bill, the pressure Republicans will feel.
The next attempt at passing the motion to proceed may come as early as today.