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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Senate Again Stalls|Financial Reform Bill

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Senate voted 57-41 Tuesday for bringing the financial reform bill to the Senate floor, again falling short of the 60 votes needed to officially start debate on the bill. In an identical tally to Monday's vote on the measure, all Senate Republicans voted against it, joined by lone Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

The bill remains in the negotiation phase, where Republicans want to keep it for further bipartisan talks. But Democratic backers of the bill said they plan to push for another vote Wednesday, hoping to capitalize on public sentiment in favor of sweeping financial reforms. A Washington Post-ABC News poll Monday revealed that about two-thirds of Americans are in favor of stricter regulations on Wall Street firms.

During Monday s vote, when it was clear that Democrats were going to lose the attempt to bring the bill to the floor, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed his vote from yea to nay in order to be on the prevailing side and file a motion to reconsider. Tuesday's revote again fell short.

The 1,400-page bill, which is supported by President Obama, calls for regulatory powers to wind down big financial firms that pose a threat to the economy, stricter regulations of the derivatives market, and added consumer protections.

After yesterday's vote, Obama immediately issued a statement saying, "I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin." Obama said the American people could not afford additional time for lobbyists to "water down reform."

"A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees," Obama said. "The reform that both parties have been working on for a year would prevent a crisis like this from happening again, and I urge the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party."

Throughout the debate over the proposed legislation, Democrats continually pinned Republicans as friends of Wall Street. Obama and other bill supporters say the bill ends taxpayer bailouts, but Republicans say the bill institutionalizes them.

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