Ben Nelson officially a ‘yes’ on Wall Street vote

Centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on Tuesday made his support for the Wall Street reform bill official, assuring Democrats will get the 60 votes they need to move the legislation. 

Nelson had said Monday he was undecided on the conference report, due to the structure of the new consumer protection agency, among other reasons. 

“I will support the Wall Street reform bill to end bailouts, add commonsense consumer protections and make sure that Nebraska Main Street businesses are not adversely affected as we rein in recklessness on Wall Street,” Nelson said in a statement. “This bill also will protect and empower consumers with new transparency and accountability, and does so without raising taxes.”

The Nebraska senator was expected to vote for the conference report, but his statement gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) assurance that he can pass the legislation this week. 

Reid plans to file cloture on the legislation Tuesday, setting up a Thursday vote. The Wall Street reform package is one of President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities. 

On Monday, GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Scott Brown (Mass.) said they would vote for the conference report. Along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the three appeared to give Democrats the extra votes they needed move the bill. 

But in the absence of a replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and without Nelson’s support, the Democrats had remained one vote short.