Nelson will vote for cloture on Wall Street bill

Centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Wednesday he would vote to move forward on the financial regulatory reform bill.

Nelson — who voted against prior cloture motions to open debate — said in a statement that the bill needed to move to a final vote in order to implement necessary reforms. 

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“This afternoon, I plan to vote for the cloture motion to move this bill to debate on a final round of amendments and a final vote," he said. "The Wall Street reform bill we’re working on is a major step forward in protecting Main Street and the Nebraska taxpayers from the abuses on Wall Street."

Nelson's support will make it easier for Democrats to push the bill closer to passage; the senator was the only Democrat to vote against past cloture votes on the measure.

Nelson said Tuesday he had not yet made up his mind which way he would vote on the cloture motion, which is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The Nebraska senator said he wanted to see what amendments were still under consideration and which would be voted on before leadership invoked cloture, which needs 60 votes to pass.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expressed confidence Tuesday that several Republicans would support cloture, who would be needed since Democrats only have 59 votes. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) predicted that four or five GOPers would vote for cloture.

At the time Nelson announced his backing, senators were still grappling with several amendments and how to deal with the piece of the bill on derivatives, which are complex financial products that many blame for the economic meltdown in 2008. 

Nelson said he still has some concerns with the bill, but that it was time to move toward a vote.

“In my view, a vote against cloture is a vote for doing nothing," he said. "It protects the status quo and that is something that I simply can’t do. Doing nothing is not in the best interests of Nebraskans."