Hoyer vague on date of House vote on Wall Street bill

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would not commit to bringing up the financial regulatory reform bill this week, even though leaders are aiming to pass it by Friday. 

At his weekly briefing with reporters, Hoyer said his "expectation is that we will take it up this week" but indicated the uncertainty of the Senate's vote count on the conference report is factoring into when the House will vote on it.

In laying out this week's schedule, Hoyer said the House could take it up Wednesday, Thursday or Friday but did not definitively pick a date.

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His comments are a further indication that Democratic leaders are scrambling to cobble together support for the bill in the wake of Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-W.Va.) passing.

Last week, a conference of House and Senate lawmakers finished work on the conference report and had expected to pass it before the July 4 recess. 

But Byrd's death left Senate Democrats short one crucial vote on the Wall Street bill. The Senate broke a GOP filibuster of the bill by a narrow 60-40 margin in May. Now, Democrats need to convince at least one Republican to vote for cloture on the measure, in addition to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who voted against the bill.

The other Senate Democrat who voted against the measure, Russ Feingold (Wis.) said Monday he would not support the conference report. 

Hoyer insisted the House was not waiting for the Senate to get 60 votes before it moves ahead with a vote, but said leaders prefer to "take up a version that had 60 votes."

The House passed its version in December by a count of 223-202. As majority leader, Hoyer controls the House calendar. 

The Maryland Democrat expressed frustration with the Senate, which has rules that require 60 senators — rather than a simple majority — to move forward on most legislation. 

Asked if he has faith in the Senate to get the votes needed, Hoyer said, "That was an unfair question, do I have faith in the Senate? I don't know that the Senate has faith in the Senate, frankly."

Hoyer added that the bill is an "important piece of legislation that is supported the majority of the American public."

-- This post was updated at 12:35 p.m.

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