Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a procedural motion last night, setting up a final vote on Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) financial regulatory reform legislation for later this week (potentially Thursday). In the meantime, there are still a handful of important amendments set for votes, including Sen. Sam Brownback’s (R-KS) misguided attempt to exempt auto dealers from new consumer protections and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Carl Levin’s (D-MI) institutionalization of the Volcker rule.
In order to ultimately pass the bill, Reid and Dodd are going to have to scrounge up sixty votes to cut off debate. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has been at the heart of bipartisan negotiations over financial reform for months, but announced on CNBC today that he is not going to support the bill, “unless there’s something miraculous that occurs here in Washington”:
I think we’ve always known that a financial regulation bill was going to pass, and it is. I’m not going to vote for it, unless there’s something miraculous that occurs here in Washington over the next 36, 48 hours, which I know is not going to be the case. I’m just being honest with you. We’re going to have a financial reg bill. I don’t support it, but I’m only one of a hundred senators.
Corker did say that expects the bill to pass, because “we’ve got about four or five Republicans that are going to vote for it.”
Corker has had a very on-again, off-again relationship with the financial reform bill, and evidently he has jumped off the bandwagon one more time. However, his opposition is interesting considering that he told Politico just yesterday that Dodd is planning to adopt “as many as 40 Republican amendments” into his manager’s amendment, which is the result of ongoing negotiations between him and the Republican leadership. It will be presented to the Senate before the vote for final passage of the bill.
In addition to those 40 or so GOP ideas that Dodd is including, 17 Republican amendments have received votes during Senate debate, with 8 ultimately being adopted. Another 3 amendments with a sponsor from each party have been passed on the Senate floor. Corker himself is still attempting to change the bill, putting forth an amendment giving national banks blanket immunity from state consumer protection laws.
Despite all this, Corker is claiming that “no real attempt” at bipartisanship has been made by Dodd and the Democrats, deriding the bill, and promising to withhold his support unless an unspecified miracle occurs. Which really makes one wonder what on Earth would have been enough to get him to sign on and what he hoped to achieve by dragging out negotiations with Dodd for weeks on end.