I’ve been focusing intently on the jobs situation and unemployment extension bill this week, but here’s a roundup of the need-to-know news on the Wall Street or financial regulatory reform bill. The House passed the conference committee version with bipartisan support, and now it only needs Senate approval to become law.
Though Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) forced last-minute changes to the bill — taking the cost of implementation away from big banks and hedge funds, and charging it to the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Plan and all FDIC-insured banks — he has coyly declined to sign on. (Folks on the Hill tell me Brown has won himself no new fans with this maneuver.) Neither have Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, two moderate Republicans considered likely to vote for the bill, though Collins says she is “inclined” to support the bill. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is a firm no. But today, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who previously voted against the bill, said it has her support.
That means that when the Senate comes back into session on July 12, Democrats will be two vote short of passage, or one if you consider Collins a yes. Over the next week, with senators back in their home states, Snowe, Collins and Brown will be under extraordinary pressure — from unions, consumer groups and other advocates on one side, and bank lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce on the other. Most Democratic aides say they expect the bill to pass relatively quickly.