By Silla Brush and Jordan Fabian - 05/20/10 12:39 AM EDT
The Senate failed Wednesday to end debate on legislation reining in Wall Street, delaying a final vote on the measure.
a 57-42 vote, the Senate failed to pass a procedural motion that would
have set up a final vote on the bill by the end of the week. The
cloture motion required 60 votes to pass.
Most Republicans voted against the motion, arguing in favor of additional debate on amendments to the sprawling 1,500-page bill.
Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.) opposed the
measure, while Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins
joined Democrats in support.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.),
viewed as a potential “yes” vote, voted against ending debate, saying he would continue to work to improve a “flawed bill.”
“I went to the leader and said I’d be voting for cloture,” said Brown, adding that he had an understanding his reservations with part of the legislation would be resolved. Brown said he is concerned that some Massachusetts financial firms, including MassMutual, would be affected by a new proprietary trading ban. “I had the assurances these things would be addressed,” Brown said.
Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) was absent, and Reid switched his vote at the end
so he quickly could call up the bill again. Reid said after the vote
that “a senator broke his word with me,” implying that Democrats had an
additional vote in support of the measure.
bringing up the bill for a vote was how Reid got it to the Senate floor
in the first place. In April, he held a series of votes over a four-day
period until he got the 60 he needed to proceed with the legislation.
Democrats blamed Republicans for protecting Wall Street special
interests, the party has also faced resistance from rank-and-file
members who are seeking debate on their amendments.
Cantwell said she opposed the cloture motion because the Senate has yet to consider her amendments.
is seeking a vote on an amendment she co-sponsored with Senate
Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that aims to
toughen enforcement of complex financial derivatives, said John
Diamond, Cantwell’s spokesman.
“I couldn’t move forward
without a vote on it,” Cantwell said, adding that her support for
cloture is contingent on a vote taking place.
in a statement that he opposed the measure because it did not put in
place “protective firewalls between Main Street banks and Wall Street
“The test for this legislation is a simple one —
whether it will prevent another financial crisis,” Feingold said. “As
the bill stands, it fails that test.”
Senators have filed more
than 300 amendments since debate began on the measure. Senate Banking
Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said the Senate has considered
60. Many have passed with bipartisan support.
“We’ve only had 45 amendments we’ve
voted on and 32 roll calls. Everything is going smoothly,” Grassley
said. “We ought to take some of these up.”
The Senate was
already moving toward a vote on at least two controversial amendments.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) has pushed an amendment to carve out auto
dealers from the jurisdiction of a new consumer financial protection
The amendment is strongly opposed by the White
House, the Defense Department and many Democrats. The National
Automobile Dealers Association, a powerful grassroots lobby, has
pushed loudly for the exemption and won the battle in the House.
Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) have been gathering
support for an amendment that would prohibit proprietary trading at big
banks. The amendment would also impose higher capital standards on
non-banks. Republican leaders have objected to the amendment.
Next week marks the last week the Senate is in session before a weeklong Memorial Day recess.
This story was updated at 8:39 p.m.