Merkley: End FinReg Filibuster to Bring Negotiations Out in the Open

Solid points from Ryan Grim and Jeff Merkley who observe that the effect of filibustering financial regulatory reform is to keep negotiations behind closed doors, instead of letting members who have concerns with the bill offer amendments in public for all to see:

For the better part of a year, the GOP has blasted Democrats for legislating “behind closed doors” and making “secret deals.” On Monday afternoon, the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed to debate Wall Street reform in public on the Senate floor.

Yet Republicans say their 41 members are united and will oppose the motion, in order to encourage Democrats to continue negotiating with them behind closed doors.

Condemning closed-door negotiations yet voting to prevent public debate is the height of hypocrisy, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) told HuffPost on Monday. “By voting against cloture, Republicans are voting to keep Wall Street negotiations behind closed doors, demanding changes to the bill without public scrutiny. Instead of closed-door deals, they should support open floor debate,” said Merkley.


On financial regulation, over the months I’ve heard a number of Republican Senators say reasonablish things about the bill, or about problems with the bill. But it’s time to put up or shut up. If you’re concerned the bill doesn’t address something, then write an amendment to address it. If you think the bill is too tough in some respect, then write an amendment to weaken it. There’s no good reason to insist that everything be done in a secret Shelby-Dodd negotiating process.