Feingold Delays Financial Reform

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The vote to close debate on the financial reform bill in the Senate failed. All but two Republican Senators voted against the moving the bill to a final vote. That’s not much of a surprise. The surprise is that two Democrats voted against the bill. And a look at why Russ Feingold of campaign finance reform fame voted no should give you a sense of how far apart some Democrats and Republicans are on financial reform. From the WSJ:

Mr. Feingold said he wanted to reimpose Depression-era rules that would bar traditional banks from affiliating with investment firms, among other things.

“We need to eliminate the risk posed to our economy by ‘too big to fail’ financial firms and to reinstate the protective firewalls between Main Street banks and Wall Street firms,” said Mr. Feingold, who is up for re-election this year. “Ending debate on the bill is finishing before the job is done.”

Mr. Feingold also wants the bill to include additional restrictions, notably on the size and complexity of U.S. banks. Efforts to include specific amendments to address the issue either failed or didn’t get a vote.

Here’s some more from Huff Po about Harry Ried trying to get the votes he needed on the floor.

There were some unusually Johnsonian moments of wrangling on the floor during the nearly hour-long vote. Reid pressed his case hard on Snowe, the lone holdout vote present, with Bob Corker and Mitch McConnell at her side. After finding Brown, he put his arm around him and shook his head, then found Cantwell seated alone at the opposite end of the floor. He and New York’s Chuck Schumer encircled her, Reid leaning over her with his right arm on the back of her chair and Schumer leaning in with his left hand on her desk. Cantwell stared straight ahead, not looking at the men even as she spoke. Schumer called in Chris Dodd, who was unable to sway her. Feingold hadn’t stuck around. Cantwell, according to a spokesman, wanted a guarantee on an amendment that would fix a gaping hole in the derivatives section of the bill, which requires the trades to be cleared, but applies no penalty to trades that aren’t, making Blanche Lincoln’s reform package little better than a list of suggestions.

Crazy stuff. I am going to leave it to someone over at Swampland to better explain what all this Washington stuff means. I believe Reid is going to try again to close debate tomorrow.