Reid to play chicken on Wall Street reform, daring GOP to filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to play a game of political chicken with Senate Republicans, daring them to kill a Wall Street reform bill.

Reid said he plans to move ahead with immediate consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill, despite a GOP pledge to filibuster the measure.

“Remember, there are only 59 of us, so if a single Republican is not willing to join with us, there will be no Wall Street reform,” Reid said. “Republicans will have killed Wall Street reform. I am confident that will not happen.”

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a crucial swing vote, said Monday that she would support a Republican filibuster if Reid tried to advance a bill crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).

But Democrats believe that even if Collins votes to block a bill, other centrist Republicans, such as Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, may vote to allow debate.

A Democratic aide said Reid still hopes to bring the bill to the floor by the end of this week.


“It’s time to move forward with this bill,” said the aide. “Chairman Dodd has been negotiating with Republicans for months.”

Forty-one Republicans signed a letter to Reid urging him to support bipartisan negotiations on the Banking and Agriculture panels, which have jurisdiction over the legislation.

Reid argued that Dodd spent hours on Monday negotiating with Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), ranking Republican on the Banking Committee.

The Democratic leader has shown little inclination to allow these talks to stretch for another three or four weeks, a span Collins estimated would be needed to produce a bipartisan compromise.

Instead, Reid has shown a willingness to force Republicans to vote on and kill the legislation. If the bill derails, Democrats say they will make it a prominent issue in the midterm elections.

“Let's move forward in a bipartisan manner to get this bill done as quickly as possible, go to conference with the House, have the president sign a bill,” Reid said. “The sooner we do that, the more stable our economy will be.”