FinReg Vote Could Come on Wednesday

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Monday, May 17, 2010 at 10:22 am

Damian Paletta at The Wall Street Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is “likely” to file cloture on Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) financial regulatory reform bill today. That means the Senate could vote on the bill as soon as Wednesday.

I think this assessment is slightly rosy, though the final vote should come soon. If Reid files for cloture today, my guess is that he might not have 60 votes to end debate, as too many amendments are pending and too many senators have pet issues they want to see resolved. Additionally, if Reid files for cloture and the motion does pass, the Senate can debate the bill for only 30 hours more and no new amendments can be filed. That means no new compromise amendments on issues such as the Volcker rule, possibly meaning Reid might delay for another day or two.

A number of major amendments remain pending and should come up for a vote today or tomorrow. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) expect a vote on their amendment reinstating parts of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, a law rescinded in 1999 that barred financial firms from offering commercial and investment banking under the same roof. (If passed, Cantwell and McCain’s amendment would require banks like J.P. Morgan Chase to break up.)

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) expects a vote on his contentious amendment barring the Consumer Financial Protection Agency from enforcing rules against auto dealers. And Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) have an important amendment to ban proprietary trading at federally insured banks.

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