Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 22, 2010

REID TO GOP: I DARE YOU.... Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced this afternoon that "the games of stalling are over" when it comes to Wall Street reform. "I'm not going to waste any more time of the American people," he declared.

And with that, the Senate leadership started the clock and scheduled its first procedural vote for 5:15 p.m. (ET) on Monday afternoon.

As President Obama spoke in New York on Thursday about the need for such landmark legislation, Reid detailed plans to hold a crucial test vote on the Senate floor Monday.

"The games of stalling are over," Reid said.

He will need Republican support to reach the 60 votes required to overcome the threat of a filibuster and move with formal debate on the bill, which among other things would create an agency to protect consumers against abuses in mortgages and other loans, set up a council of regulators to watch for risks to the financial system, and give the government power to wind down large, troubled financial firms.

And what of the bipartisan talks that have made some progress this week? They'll continue -- and by most accounts, participants are optimistic -- but Reid isn't going to wait for them anymore.

It's a bit of a gamble for the Democratic leadership. If a final deal is not in place on Monday afternoon, all 41 Senate Republicans may very well block the debate from getting underway. Of course, Dems don't necessarily see that as a bad result -- they'll use it against Republicans in the campaign, and then keep working until they get the legislation through the chamber.

But Democrats seem to think it won't come to that anyway. Either the deadline will produce a completed deal, or a GOP senator or two may feel compelled to break ranks, vote to start the debate, and keep the process moving forward.

Either way, Reid and the Democratic leadership seem to feel pretty confident right now, secure enough to effectively dare Republicans to stand in the way of the reform effort. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "We feel we have the upper hand."

Steve Benen 3:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Yer either on the bus or off the bus...

Go fer it, Harry...

and get it all...

Posted by: neill on April 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone explain process to me? If there are still negotiations, then what would have been debated had there been no objection today?

Posted by: A DC Wonk on April 22, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Now if only the Dems had the same "damn the torpedoes" attitude during the HCR debate...

Posted by: KTinOhio on April 22, 2010 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

now that every carve-out has been carved, and every possible exemption been given, now that Schumer has shaken down every possible dollar for the DSCC from every possible financial firm, it's time to put this pig in the poke.


Posted by: some guy on April 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Pelosi loaned him her set of brass balls...

Posted by: M B-C on April 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats win this fight. The best Republicans can do is minimize the damage. That means allowing a vote, and jumping behind a slightly modified bill.

The American people are overwhelmingly in favor of the Dodd bill. Not allowing debate on the bill is a real loser for McConnell and Friends. Of course, the fight would be a real winner for Fox and Friends. Since McConnell and Friends work for Fox and Friends, don't be surprised if they hold fast and block the debate for a few days. The Republican party will take a hit to help Fox's ratings.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 22, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I kind of feel like the person selling cheap shoes and stuff on newtown, but here I am.
If you haven't watched Capitalism, A Love Story by Michael Moore, please do. And, then, share it with eveyone you know. There is also a campaign to make sure everyone in Congress and the POTUS/VPOTUS see this and know that we know what they are doing. www.wethepeopleforpeace.org

Thanks for listening.
st john

Posted by: st john on April 22, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Harry starts going thermo-nuke on the GOP---what'll that do to "Chicken-Jowls" Lowden, I wonder?

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Posted by: wyhdhdq on April 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

If Harry had been acting this way consistently, no chicken trader in the world would be polling ahead of him.

Posted by: doubtful on April 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

anyone remember when the comments would get spammed with long posts in chinese?
this newtown crap is getting to be the same.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 22, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "We feel we have the upper hand."

Um, Chuck, for the last 15 months you've had the presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress. You've always had the upper hand.

You were just too corrupt and/or pussified* to act on it.

(*Un-PC and sexist, I know, but....)

Posted by: Gummo on April 22, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Reid could NOT have done this with HCR, period. He did not have a unified caucus with HCR, whereas now the politics make leaving the reservation much harder. (See Lincoln, Blanche.)

As much as Reid can be testicularly challenged, that was not the issue with HCR.

Reid is going to go into November with HCR and a anti-banker law and a chicken in every pot. Couple this with Crist in Florida, the dems could turn a lost seat into two pick-ups (via Meek or Crist caucusing with the Dems). Not a bad week for Harry all things considered.


Posted by: eric on April 22, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Double-dog dare!

Posted by: Cazart on April 22, 2010 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Good point, eric.

Being Senate Majority Leader is always a bit like herding cats (especially for Democrats).

Financial reform is easier than health care reform for "Blue Dog" Democrats, especially when facing a primary challenge from the left (as Lincoln is).

The Republicans' "Party of Hell No" strategy, as much as it helped them short-term, has cost them support among moderate Senate Democrats. When Max Baucus & Ben Nelson vote for cloture to pass health care with no Republican "cover", and when Robert Byrd is voicing support for rules reform, it gives you an idea of the price Republicans have paid for their unity.

Posted by: massappeal on April 22, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think the Donkeys have the synapses to anticipate the Rethug line ("the Dems are trying to ram ANOTHER partisan bill down our throat")? They MUST get out in front and proactively scream the vote isn't about craming anything. It's a vote to TALK about reforming the Wall Street Mafia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the Rethugs talked to their handlers in the WSM and decided they can't allow this discussion.

Posted by: Chopin on April 22, 2010 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

What I don't understand is why the dems don't LET THEM FILIBUSTER. They threaten to do it all the time, why not actually make them do it? This is the perfect timing because it's not even a final vote for a bill it's blocking the discussion of something that most people realize that we need.

I think the dems need to call their bluff and tell them to filibuster away...I don't think they'll do it and if they do it will be great campaign fodder against them. They're not only the Part of No but they're Do Nothings who don't even want to *talk* about tackling difficult issues.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 23, 2010 at 5:15 AM | PERMALINK

I said it before and I will say it again:


Screw the anti-democratic Senate cloture rule.

Do EVERYTHING via Reconciliation. Soon enough, they will get rid of the damned cloture rule as being an ancient relic.

Posted by: SteveGinIL on April 23, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK



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