Financial Reform Bill Limps Toward Vote


On Wednesday July 14, 2010, 12:43 am EDT

WASHINGTON — It was supposed to be the one major piece of legislation this year that Republicans and Democrats could see eye to eye on, and vote aye on together in broad numbers. Instead, the sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system, a response to the economic crisis of 2008, will barely squeak through the Senate.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday said they had cobbled together the bare minimum of 60 votes needed to close off debate and advance to a final vote later this week. Supporters included three Republican centrists from the Northeast, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins of Maine and Olympia J. Snowe, also of Maine.

The three Republicans may be joined by others, but the bill is still certain to fall far short of the wide bipartisan majority that some Congressional leaders had predicted given the unanimous agreement among lawmakers in both parties that the rules for Wall Street needed to be rewritten.

In the House, only three Republicans supported the bill. “I think it’s just the times we’re in,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the banking committee, a main author of the legislation along with Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Financial Services Committee.

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