Break Up the Banks Fails, Audit the Fed Waits

May 07, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Last night, after debating Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Audit the Fed amendment, the Senate did not end up voting on it. Why? Two reasons. First of all, Sanders and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the architect of the reform bill, agreed to tweak the amendment to make it weaker — a one-time picture of the Fed’s books rather than a continuous audit process. That slowed the process down some. Second, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, agreed to hold up the vote for Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), who wants to vote for it but was in the midst of a tough primary challenge in his home state, Brian Beutler explains. (Presumably, Reid is getting something in return for his largess.)

But the Senate did vote — suddenly — on Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman’s (D-Del.) amendment to break up big banks and impose strict capital and leverage requirements. It failed, 33 to 61, with about half of Democrats voting against it. Democratic staffers say that capital and leverage provisions — less controversial than breaking up the bank provisions — might be inserted via other amendments.

And the Senate is done voting for the week.