Republicans block Democratic financial overhaul a second time

Senate Republicans, for the second time in two days, blocked Democratic plans to overhaul the financial system and crack down on Wall Street.

In a 57-41 vote, Republicans prevented Democrats from opening debate on a wide-ranging financial measure. After Democrats failed Monday to garner the 60 votes necessary to open debate, Democrats pledged to push repeated votes this week to portray Republicans as standing up for Wall Street.

Republicans say they are opposing the bill as a way to gain leverage in negotiations on the bill. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the banking panel, continue to pursue bipartisan negotiations.

Dodd has said he believes the two senators will make more progress on the Senate floor. Dodd and Shelby remain split on issues related to how to dissolve failing financial firms, how to boost consumer protections over financial products and how to regulate the multitrillion-dollar market for financial derivatives.

The financial overhaul is a top priority for President Barack Obama, who said Monday he was "disappointed" in the Senate's failure to proceed to debate.

The House passed its version of financial legislation in December, a little more than one year after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) was again the only Democrat to join Republicans in voting against the motion to proceed to debate on the bill.