Wall Street reform advances in Senate

WALL STREET REFORM ADVANCES IN SENATE…. The third time was the charm on ending debate on Wall Street reform.

The Senate voted on Thursday afternoon to close debate on a far-reaching financial regulatory bill, putting Congress on a glide path to approving a broad expansion of government oversight of the increasingly complex financial markets that is intended to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic crisis.

The vote was 60 to 40, with three Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favor of ending the debate. Two Democrats voted with 38 Republicans in opposition to finalizing the bill.

“We have made great progress,” the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said after the vote. “It has been hard to get to this point.”

Ain’t that the truth. Even today wasn’t easy — not only did the 60-vote majority leave no margin for error, Reid needed three Republican votes (Snowe, Collins, and Brown) to overcome the defection of two Democrats (Cantwell and Feingold) who supported the GOP filibuster.

The successful vote on cloture means a final vote can take place within 30 hours, sooner if members unanimously agree to waive the delay.

The bill is expected to pass, at which point it will need to be reconciled with a House version passed late last year. The goal, according to Democratic sources, is to have the final bill signed into law by July 4.

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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.