Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 28, 2010

PUT AWAY THE COTS.... Three times in three days, Senate Republicans unanimously rejected efforts to debate Wall Street reform. It led Senate Democrats to schedule all all-night session for this evening, and a fourth attempt to pass the motion to proceed.

As of this afternoon, those efforts are no longer necessary. With talks of a bipartisan deal having broken down, Republicans have apparently decided to end their obstructionism -- at least for now.

Senate Republicans ended three days of resistance on Wednesday and signaled that they are ready to allow debate of legislation to overhaul regulation of the nation's financial system.

The Republicans, who were gathering to make their formal decision, appeared to back down after Democrats threatened to keep the Senate in session through the night to dramatize the standoff.

It's worth emphasizing that this is just a breakthrough on the initial step. Republicans haven't agreed to allow an up-or-down vote on the legislation; they're now just willing to let the Senate vote on a measure to let members debate the legislation.

In other words, it's just a foot in the door. Republicans will continue to obstruct every step forward, and will no doubt filibuster the bill itself, filibuster attempts to choose members of the conference committee, and then filibuster final passage.

This afternoon's news is encouraging, then, but we still have a long ways to go.

As for what led to the breakthrough, it gets back to what we talked about this morning -- the GOP blocked a vote on the debate because they saw it as a way of strengthening behind-closed-door negotiations. Now that it's clear that a bipartisan agreement won't be reached, and there's nothing more than can be accomplished through negotiations, Republicans are more inclined to let the bill advance.

It seems bizarre, but the breakdown in negotiations means more progress, not less.

For what it's worth, talks will continue, even after the motion to proceed passes, and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has assured Republicans that there will ample opportunities to address provisions of the bill on the floor.

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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"It seems bizarre, but the breakdown in negotiations means more progress, not less"

That doesn't seem bizarre to me. Negotiating with Republicans usually makes things worse, not better. They have no ideas, and act in bad faith anyway.

Posted by: Oscar Leroy on April 28, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Republicans will continue to obstruct every step forward, and will no doubt filibuster the bill itself, filibuster attempts to choose members of the conference committee, and then filibuster final passage."

This should be all over the mainstream media. That it isn't is a disgrace.

Posted by: Chris on April 28, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Make them vote NO as many times as we can.
Then the commercials will be "Senator X voted 99 times to protect wallstreet!"

Posted by: joyzeeboy on April 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

has Chris Dodd ever seen a gift horse whose dentures he didn't want to examine?

Posted by: some guy on April 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I am soooo bored with Republicans... If they were smart they would just Say, "Well, it was tough but we got a bipartisan bill." Wave for the cameras... say a few nice things on the Sunday Shows... and go home.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on April 28, 2010 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, the minute the Dems stand tough, the Republicans folded like a house of cards.

Who could have predicted?

Oh, that's right, every frustrated voice in the left blogosphere for the last 18 months, the same people Emmanuel dismissed as 'fucking retarded.'

We'd be looking at very different HCR bill today if the Dems stood tall last year.

But of course, that gets back to speculation about how much the White House and the Democratic Party officials really wanted an HCR bill in the first place....

Posted by: Gummo on April 28, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Also, Mitch McConnell has to get back to Louisville, where he's already missing some of the most important D=Kentucky Derby parties. Don't underestimate how important that is.

Posted by: Tom Johnson on April 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

More of this. All year.

Posted by: Jon on April 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Dems need to accept that NOTHING of needed reform/change is going to pass on financial reform, climate change, immigration, health care reform (what has passed is weak insurance reform), job creation unless the filibuster is broken. Unless several such measures pass, Dems will take a beating in November--- and increase the chances of a Repub takeover of government. At that time, Dems will get a chance to quickly see how Repubs eliminate the filibuster that some Dems want to keep "because we'll need it when the Repubs regain control".

Posted by: gdb on April 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes I perversely wish that the Republicans had stayed in office for two more years. They would have finished their agenda of looting the country and enriching their wealthy benefactors. They would have finished making a mess out of everything. This country and probably most of the world now be stuck with the worst depression in history, unemployment would be sky high, despair monumental. For all the grimness, we wouldn't hear so many strident right-wing voices and pundits, feel concern over voters returning power to these creatures in upcoming elections, or confront the frustration of tyranny through filibuster.

Posted by: -syzygy- on April 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

If you read through the entire NYT article, towards the end of it, you'll notice a little quote from the Chinless Wonder McConnell. It actually came from his press release:
http://tinyurl.com/23d55v5
and in it he says that the three days of filibustering weren't fruitless. The extra time thus gained was spent hammering out an agreement "to end taxpayer bailouts". Not the polite BS the authors of the article spin about "closing loopholes which *might* lead to bailouts. No. It's "END taxpayer bailouts", as if they *had been* in the bill, something he'd been saying all along.

Sigh. McConnell seems to be determined to add to the American literary canon. His contribution is to be titled: "As I Die, Lying".

Posted by: exlibra on April 28, 2010 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

I have been making a point of calling Senator Hatch's office about this on a daily basis. I identify myself to the staffer as an Army vet and business owner, and ask why Senator Hatch is siding with the criminals on Wall Street, and not supporting loyal, patriotic, hardworking Americans like me.

They don't have an answer, of course, and the staffer is clearly uncomfortable with defending the senator's position. I suspect that I am not alone.

Then I tell them I want financial regulation so tight that a banker calls me every morning to ask what he should have for breakfast, and I want these criminals taxed until their eyeballs bleed.

By the time I get around to asking why John Ensign and David Vitter are still senators,

Posted by: Repack Rider on April 28, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Gummo: "We'd be looking at very different HCR bill today if the Dems stood tall last year. But of course, that gets back to speculation about how much the White House and the Democratic Party officials really wanted an HCR bill in the first place...."

Right, HCR and FinReg poll the same and therefore the same tactics could have been used.

Don't quit your day job.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 28, 2010 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

At that time, Dems will get a chance to quickly see how Repubs eliminate the filibuster that some Dems want to keep "because we'll need it when the Repubs regain control".
Posted by: gdb

if and when the repubs gain control, they'll run into the biggest problem the dems now face: egos. you think republican senators are any more willing to give up personal power than democratic senators? you're not going to see filibuster reform until the senate just ceases to function on any significant level. sides, if they could have done it, they would have done it before -- when they in fact controlled the senate.

oh and gummo, the politics on financial regulation reform are much different than health care reform. people still don't understand the health care reform law. all you have to say is wall street and people get it. plus, we're not talking about passing the bill; we're talking about blocking debate, which is even less defensible position for the republicans to take.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on April 28, 2010 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

The one takeaway from this episode of Republican No-ism is to stoke the fire under the feet of Republicans so if they wish to once again stand and obstruct, they'll surely get burned tootsies!

If nothing more, the smell of burning Republican flesh may be what it takes to make any political progress at this juncture of our nation's history! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 28, 2010 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

The only way to negotiate with the GOP is to have your heel firmly placed on its throat. No wiggle room.

On HCR:

I'm not sure that healthcare insurance companies are much more popular than financial service companies. Maybe if we hadn't have jumped into bed with them so early . . .

Also, the HCR bill's complexity is largely due to the slew of concession and backroom deals made with insurance, pharma and other vested interests.

The final FinReg bill will be complex as well. It's just that the desire to bring down the corporate criminals is easy to grasp. The healthcare insurance companies are no less culpable.

Posted by: bdop4 on April 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I do think the BFD is different than financial regulation, but I also think the Dems would be wise to keep the cots handy. The idea of a sleep over during Derby week likely short cut what was inevitable, but like getting a mule's attention, the GOP has to be whacked a bit to get them to focus.

Posted by: Terry on April 28, 2010 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

As of this afternoon, those efforts are no longer necessary. With talks of a bipartisan deal having broken down, Republicans have apparently decided to end their obstructionism -- at least for now.**************

GOP - Grand Obstructionist Party - Here they "NO" again!

Posted by: in what respect, Charlie? on April 28, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

"for now" - being the key words in the above quote.

Posted by: in what respect, Charlie? on April 28, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

bdop4: "Also, the HCR bill's complexity is largely due to the slew of concession and backroom deals made with insurance, pharma and other vested interests."

Since a single-payer system had at least 60 votes in the Senate, those concessions and deals must be due to Dems being just a bunch of corrupt pseudo-Republicans. /sarcasm

Am I falling for spoof trolls? Maybe I need to stop looking at comments...

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 28, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes I perversely wish that the Republicans had stayed in office for two more years... This country and probably most of the world now be stuck with the worst depression in history..., we wouldn't hear so many strident right-wing voices and pundits" -syzygy-

Don't underestimate the GOP's ability to blame ALL the country's problems on Democrats, regardless of whose fault it was. It is the liberals' cross to bear that WE must act like the grown-ups, clean up the mess, act with fiscal restraint, talk the talk and WALK THE WALK. Other than that, yes - I agree with you.

Posted by: Marko on April 28, 2010 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Since a single-payer system had at least 60 votes in the Senate, those concessions and deals must be due to Dems being just a bunch of corrupt pseudo-Republicans. /sarcasm"

Technically they're the pawl.

Posted by: Forrest on April 28, 2010 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Technically they're the pawl."
Hey, they're not all sellouts to The Man, and one day President Kucinich will bring us to the promised land.

Posted by: Uli Kunkel on April 28, 2010 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK
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