McConnell lacks support to block Wall Street reform bill

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE (Ky.) does not have enough solid commitments from GOP lawmakers to block consideration of a Democratic Wall Street reform bill.

McConnell has circulated a letter within the GOP conference that would have Republicans pledge to block a motion to proceed to a financial regulatory reform bill unless Democrats agree to reopen it for bipartisan negotiations.

But McConnell has fallen short of the 41 signatures he needs to send Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Doctors are dying by suicide every day and we are not talking about it Impeachment trial throws curveball into 2020 race MORE (D-Nev.) a clear signal.

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So far, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities MORE (R-Maine), a crucial swing vote, has declined to sign the letter, according to a Republican source.

Collins said that she supports some of the provisions in the bill but has concerns about the way Democrats have handled it, specifically their decision to cut off talks with Republican negotiators before a bipartisan deal was reached.

But Collins has declined to pledge in a public letter that she would vote to filibuster the reform bill unless Democrats make amends.

It is unclear if any other Republicans senators have declined to sign the letter.

Collins’s stance is a significant setback to McConnell, who wants to force Democrats to return to the negotiating table.

A senior Democratic aide said that Reid will go forward with his plan to bring Wall Street reform to the floor next week.

A senior Republican lawmaker confirmed that McConnell had circulated a letter among fellow Republicans promising that the entire GOP conference would vote against a motion to proceed to the reform bill unless Democrats resume negotiations.

“The only way we can get in the room is to show Democrats that they can’t ram a bill through the Senate,” said the lawmaker.

A senior GOP aide framed it in a more benign way.

“It’s a letter urging a bipartisan approach to a final financial regulation bill,” said the aide.

Collins may change her mind but without her support, Republicans have significantly less leverage to persuade Democrats to redraft the bill advanced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).



McConnell has taken a strong stance against Dodd’s bill because he argues it would enable future bailouts of massive financial institutions.


“Its authors claim that the bill gives the government the authority to wind down failing firms with no exposure to the taxpayer,” McConnell said in a speech Wednesday. “But as a factual matter, the bill creates bailout funds, authorizes bailouts, allows for back-door bailouts from the FDIC, Treasury and the Fed, and even expands the scope of future bailouts."

A GOP aide speculated that McConnell may soon approach Reid with his suggestions for improving the bill, even though McConnell is in a weaker position than if he had the votes to block it.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic conference and a member of the Banking Committee, said he would welcome hearing McConnell’s proposals.