Step Forward or Back Among Democrats on Dodd-Frank?

It didn’t get much attention initially because of the lighting speed of the event, but on Wednesday the House took up a package of Dodd-Frank “reforms” introduced late the night before, and sought to pass them under a suspension of the rules (which requires a two-thirds vote). The bill’s Republican managers were relying on a whip count derived from a vote in October of 2013 in which 70 Democrats voted for a similar measure. But in part due to some very public negative comments from Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, only 35 Democrats voted for the measure, and it failed to clear the threshold by six votes.

The package included several “reforms” sought by banks, but the biggie was a two-year delay in bank compliance with the Volcker Rule, a key Dodd-Frank reform restricting use of high-risk collateralized loan obligations, often made in conjunction with hedge funds and private equity funds.

So should progressives be pleased that half of the Democratic supporters of this package have melted away? Or be angry there are still 35 of them on record as backing it? And does it matter than there are plenty of Republican votes to pass it by a simple majority vote, yet still not enough for a veto override if Congress passes it and Obama vetoes it? There’s obviously a lot going on here. But these are no longer votes that permanently pass under the radar screen.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.