Brown to support Wall Street reform; Dems edge closer to 60

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) announced Monday he will vote for Wall Street reform when it comes up for a final vote, all but assuring Democrats the 60 votes they need to pass the legislation.

Brown voted for the bill when it first came up for a vote, but had opposed a provision in the conference report that would have imposed $19 billion in taxes on financial firms to pay for the bill.

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That provision was taken out of the bill by Democrats to secure Brown’s support, but the Massachusetts Republican hadn’t said for sure whether it would be enough.

“I appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, especially the removal of the $19 billion bank tax. As a result, it is a better bill than it was when this whole process started,” Brown said in a statement on Monday. “While it isn’t perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote.”

Democrats need 60 votes to move the legislation through the Senate. Fifty-seven Democrats support the legislation, and Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) has also indicated she will support the bill.

Democrats were forced to delay a final vote after the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (W-Va.) left them one vote short. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is expected to appoint a temporary replacement soon, and that new senator would also be expected to vote for Wall Street reform.

Another Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), is also seen as a likely ‘yes’ vote.