Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 13, 2010

WALL STREET REFORM: ONE STEP FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK?.... As of late yesterday afternoon, the pieces appeared to be in place to finally complete work on Wall Street reform. The majority had 57 Democratic votes -- the entire caucus, sans Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) -- and needed three Republicans. Maine's Susan Collins endorsed the bill last week; Massachusetts' Scott Brown agreed yesterday morning; and Maine's Olympia Snowe announced her support late in the day. It seemed 60 votes were in place.

Indeed, soon after Snowe issued her statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced, "We will finish our work on this bill this week to ensure that these critical protections and accountability for Wall Street are in place as soon as possible." It seemed a Thursday floor vote was likely.

But as we've learned, nothing is ever easy in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed Monday to move forward with a financial regulatory overhaul this week, despite last-minute waffling by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) that could throw that schedule into doubt.... Reid needs the support of Nelson, who is suddenly showing signs of wavering.

Specifically, Nelson said late yesterday, "You don't know who's going to be head of the consumer protection bureau. You can't just send a rogue agency out on its own."

The comments were a reminder that of why Nelson is so often a confounding disappointment. The provisions related to the consumer protection agency have been debated for months. He waited until the week of the vote, after 60 votes were in place, to start making threats? After he already voted for the same provisions a month ago?

It's very likely this is yet another attempt for the conservative Nebraskan to gain leverage over his colleagues. Here's an idea: maybe Ben Nelson should hold the bill hostage until he works out a secret deal behind closed doors that gives him unique influence over the process. That worked out for him so well the last time he tried such a stunt.

Roll Call reported this morning that Democratic leadership aides are "confident they can persuade Nelson to vote for the measure and deliver on Reid's vow to finish the bill this week." If Nelson betrays the party again, the leadership will either a) find another Republican supporter, which seems highly unlikely; or b) wait until next week, when the late Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-W.Va.) temporary replacement is expected to be in place.

Update: As of late this morning, it looks like Nelson will vote for Wall Street reform. Barring any 11th-hour surprises, the legislation should pass this week, and Reid will start the clock today.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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So, that means that progressive hero Russ Feingold can't be counted on to even vote for cloture on this? Geez, talk about the perfect being the enemy of the good (or in this case, the slightly better than nothing).

Posted by: rickterp on July 13, 2010 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Ben Nelson is a Republican. His games are routine. So are Feingold's. Again he is letting the "perfect" be the enemy of the "good." I guess he is still a progressive darling. I say he is just a closet corporatist hiding in progressive clothing.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 13, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

For the life of me I can't see why any progressive would work for Feingold. America would be better off with a Tea Partier. At least he wouldn't be pretending to be something he isn't.

Yep, there are things in this bill I don't like. For example, it should cover auto dealers and local banks. Again it is a start. I wouldn't hold it hostage. Feingold should vote no if that is how he feels, but he should allow a vote.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 13, 2010 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

I suppose Nelson is just holding out for another $500,000 injection into his campaign coffers from the DNC like last time. He wants his taste.

Surprisingly, Feingold hasn't been given a $500,000 injection into his campaign coffers or concessions. I guess he's just supposed to fall in line without getting paid unlike the Conservadems.

Posted by: edmunddantes on July 13, 2010 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile-metaphorically-the planet is going up in financial flames, while the Senate fiddles.

-And the band played on. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 13, 2010 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

I keep reading that dem damn Dems may have to wait for Byrd's replacement to get 60 votes on this matter. Why is it assumed that, after appointed, the temporary Senator will be a Byrd and not a Nelson?

Posted by: Perspecticus on July 13, 2010 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Specifically, Nelson said late yesterday, "You don't know who's going to be head of the consumer protection bureau. You can't just send a rogue agency out on its own."
=================================

Nelson is a corrupt corporatist, as bad as any Dino. Feingold is not one of those.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya on July 13, 2010 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

ifthethunderdontgetya, are you sure what Feingold is or isn't. He talks a great game, but when push comes to shove he seems to always support the Party of NO.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 13, 2010 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

It's time for someone to instill some discipline in the Democratic caucus. Voting for cloture is not the same as voting for the bill. Anyone who votes to uphold a Republican filibuster should be subject to disciplinary action. They should face losing their committee assignments, seniority, or whatever else will keep them from holding up the agenda of their own party. If they can't come up with 50 votes for something it doesn't deserve to pass, but it's ridiculous for every bill to need 60. It's not all republican's fault. There have been democrats willing to abuse the filibuster for their own purposes too. Every Democrat should at least allow and "up or down vote" on their own party's agenda.

Posted by: atlliberal on July 13, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

I'm in complete agreement with atliberal. The filibuster needs to be delegitimized, and as a first step the Dem leadership, with the President's active support, should make it clear that they regard it as completely unacceptable and unconscionable for any Dem to vote with the Republicans on a filibuster. And there should be consequences for those who do.

Posted by: Tony Greco on July 13, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans will back out and the legislation will be weak because of the Republican input. This has happened time and again.This has to do with Money so why can't the up and down vote be used?
Or wil the Republicans use another obscure rule in their favor. Why must legislation be so weakened to pass? Our country needs strong legislation with regulation of wall street in order for our country to remain great. Thinking small makes our country small. Canada/India did not change their regulations and is in far better shape than we are. There is the example. Politicans need to be fired so America can stay strong!

Nelson wants to add to his bottom line of 17 million dollars . He does not care about anyone but himself . He was paid off for health care and wants to be paid off for any other legislation.Because of this you wonder how mnuch he really worries about the deficit.

Posted by: MLJohnston on July 13, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

IIRC, this is actually a ploy to block Elizabeth Warren from becoming head of the agency since she would actually do her job and regulate these companies. Republicans have been pushing hard to try and block her, to the point of trying to put provisions in the law that would specifically bar Warren from becoming the new agency's head.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 13, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

I know a lot about Elizabeth Warren. She would be crackerjack. No wonder the banks are pissed.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 13, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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