Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fin reg bill clear for Senate vote

The US Senate has voted to end debate over the financial regulations bill, clearing the way for a final vote on the bill in Senate.

Details from The New York Times:

"The Senate voted on Thursday afternoon to close debate on a far-reaching financial regulatory bill, putting Congress on a glide path to approving a broad expansion of government oversight of the increasingly complex financial markets that is intended to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic crisis.

The vote was 60 to 40, with three Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favor of ending the debate. Two Democrats voted with 38 Republicans in opposition to finalizing the bill.

Here's the Times' take on Republican opposition to the bill and the countdown to the Senate vote:

"...Senate Republican leaders, adopting an election-year strategy to oppose virtually every initiative supported by the Obama administration, also voiced loud criticism of the legislation while trying to insist that they still wanted tougher policing of Wall Street.

The Republicans, who had a strong role in drafting the bill and won a number of their amendments, seemed to be calculating that voters these days trust the federal government even less than Wall Street and what accept the Republicans’ contention that Democrats in Washington are in cahoots with bank behemoths like Goldman Sachs.

The vote on Thursday essentially hit the button on a 30-hour countdown for the Senate to complete its debate and dispense with outstanding amendments."

The NY Times also mentions that the final 30 hours of debate could be avoided by a unanimous Senate vote, and that "once the Senate bill is approved" (a done deal, eh?) it must be reconciled with a similar bill passed by the House in December.

Interesting to note the contrast in coverage between the Times' story and the Wall Street Journal's, which notes Republicans' opposition to the bill's "excessive intrusion by government into the markets". None of that sort of talk to be found in the Times piece (surprise, surprise).

For more details on what is in the financial reform bill, and discussion of the legislation's merits and drawbacks, please see yesterday's post, "The Latest on the US Financial Reform Bill".

Update: "Senate passes financial regulation bill" (Washington Post).