Third time wasn’t the charm

THIRD TIME WASN’T THE CHARM…. There were at least some hopes going into today that the third effort to let the Senate debate Wall Street reform would finally overcome Republican obstructionism. No such luck.

A Senate bill to rein in financial institutions has stalled again as Republicans remain unified against the Democrats’ proposed overhaul.

The 56-42 vote failed to get the necessary 60 votes to move the legislation to the Senate floor for debate. Without that step, senators cannot offer amendments to the bill.

It was the third such vote in three days, orchestrated by Democrats to maintain pressure on Republicans.

The 56-42 vote was slightly different from the 57-41 vote from the first couple of tries, but it’s only because of who was on the floor at the time — no senators have changed their position, at least not yet.

Ezra Klein, meanwhile, notes that the Democratic leadership is considering a new procedural approach this evening.

Word is that the Democrats might make the Republicans actually filibuster FinReg tonight. That is to say, stand on the floor and talk and talk and talk. And if the Democrats are serious about forcing the Republicans to really filibuster the bill, this is the right week for it: The Kentucky Derby starts Friday, and Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, would surely prefer to attend. Given that his members are already talking about breaking ranks, McConnell may find himself eager to get this kabuki dance over with a little bit early.

Now, just as a reminder, the notion of having one senator stand on the floor for hours, reading from phone books, isn’t going to happen. But Dems can keep the chamber debating (over debating) all night if it chooses.

On a related note, the DNC released a new 30-second ad, intended to run on cable news networks, going after Republican obstructionism on Wall Street reform.

The next vote on the motion to proceed is likely to be held tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.