Today, after Republicans voted against beginning debate on Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) financial regulatory reform bill for a third time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democrats said that they were prepared to keep the Senate in session all night, forcing the GOP to actively filibuster the bill.
“All the talk of the Republicans about wanting to do something about this bill before it gets on the floor is really anti-Senate and anti-American,” said Reid. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) added that the plan “is to stay all night asking consent of Republicans to let us debate Wall Street reform. I just don’t get why we can’t debate.”
However, before it got to that point, the Republican leadership caved, and now seems poised to let Dodd’s bill come to the floor for debate. There doesn’t seem to have been any deal cut with the Republicans, aside from unspecified “loopholes” that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claims were closed in the $50 billion resolution authority fund that the GOP has been railing against (but that many, including Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, support).
Already, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have said that they will be voting to move to debate. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) also seemed poised to vote to proceed earlier today, while Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) dismissed the “alternative” plan that Republicans have been circling today (which, in large part, looked like Dodd’s bill anyway).
What remains to be seen is the sort of amendments that Republicans will propose during the actual floor debate. If they look anything like the amendments Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee drew up (then never offered) during committee markup, Democrats will have to take a strong stand against them. Floor debate is expected to take up to two weeks.