Wall Street reform — endgame

WALL STREET REFORM — ENDGAME…. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was “likely” to file cloture today on the Wall Street reform package pending in the chamber. Christina Bellantoni added this afternoon that Reid will do just that this evening, starting the clock on a final vote in a few days.

And while there’s reason for some optimism — even Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) conceded yesterday that he expects the legislation to pass — like every other major bill, this won’t be easy.

…Reid is still facing the threat of a filibuster from retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan, who hasn’t tipped his hand yet today on whether the Democrats have convinced him to vote for moving ahead with the bill. An aide told me that Dorgan (D-ND) expects to get a vote on his amendment dealing with credit default swaps but would not say if anything has changed since he told leadership he would block the bill from a final vote last week.

Reid (D-NV) said on the Senate floor this afternoon he’s aiming for a final vote by the end of the week, perhaps as early as Thursday…. Several more amendments will be considered this evening, though Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) are unlikely to be here for the vote while they are campaigning back home in advance of tomorrow’s primary elections.

Annie Lowrey suggests Reid’s schedule is ambitious, and may not come together as planned, but “the final vote should come soon.”

If Reid files for cloture today, my guess is that he might not have 60 votes to end debate, as too many amendments are pending and too many senators have pet issues they want to see resolved. Additionally, if Reid files for cloture and the motion does pass, the Senate can debate the bill for only 30 hours more and no new amendments can be filed. That means no new compromise amendments on issues such as the Volcker rule, possibly meaning Reid might delay for another day or two.

Paul Krugman, meanwhile, described the current bill as a “stronger version than almost anyone expected.”