By Silla Brush - 06/26/10 04:32 AM EDT
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), a potentially crucial vote on Wall Street overhaul legislation, warned Friday that he had not yet decided to support the bill.
In a statement, Brown expressed concern about fees added to the bill early Friday morning to help pay for the cost of the legislation. The bill, which was approved on party lines in a conference of House and Senate lawmakers, would raise up to $19 billion in fees on big banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions.
"I’ve said repeatedly that I cannot support any bill that raises taxes," Brown said.
The House is slated to hold a vote as early as Tuesday. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said early Friday he was optimistic about having the votes necessary to pass the bill before the July 4 recess.
Concerns about assessments on big financial firms could make it difficult for Senate Democrats to quickly pass the legislation and postpone Congress sending the bill to President Barack Obama.
In May, when the Senate passed its original version of the legislation, Brown was one of only four Republicans to support the bill. He was joined by Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa).
Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.) voted against the bill.
Brown said Friday he was "surprised and extremely disappointed" about the assessments added to the bill.
"While I'm still reviewing the bill's details, these provisions were not in the Senate version of the bill which I previously supported," he said. "My fear is that these costs would be passed onto consumers in the form of higher bank, ATM and credit card fees and put a strain on lending at the worst possible time for our economy."
The fees would be collected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) according to a risk-based metric. The money would be placed in a special fund at the Treasury Department and could not be touched for 25 years.