Republicans, Dem Sen. Ben Nelson Block Wall Street Reform
April 26, 2010
(ChattahBox)—As expected, all Senate Republicans voted to filibuster Wall Street reform, but in a surprising turn, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (NE) deserted his Party and also voted no. In a 57-41 vote, the overhaul of our financial system failed to get to the Senate floor for discussion.
Despite months of bipartisan negotiations, when it came time to vote on the bill, Republicans called for delay, complaining that the process was moving too fast, and called for lawmakers to start over. Sound familiar? Republicans used the same tactics in their campaign to kill healthcare reform. The House already passed a financial reform bill in December. And in the Senate, Chris Dodd (D-CT) Chairman of the Banking Committee toiled for months drafting a bill with Republican input, but the GOP withdrew from the negotiations when Democrats pushed for the measure to come to the floor:
“The bill was first approved by the Senate’s Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut. Dodd and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, spent months negotiating on the bill, though talks broke down when Dodd held a vote.The legislation passed with no Republican support. And then last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee also passed a measure to tighten regulations on the complex system of trades known as derivatives.”
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid quipped, “As far as I can tell, the only thing Republicans stand for is standing together,” he said.
And Mitch McConnell, said the GOP didn’t want to “rush.” “All of us want to deliver a reform that will tighten the screws on Wall Street,” McConnell said. “But we’re not going to be rushed on another massive bill based on the assurances of our friends on the other side.”
It’s been 18-months since the near meltdown of our entire economy, and McConnell doesn’t feel financial reform is a priority.
In a parliamentary maneuver, Harry Reid, later switched his vote to “no,” which would allow the call for a new vote. Sen. Reid intends to hold another vote on the bill this week, to test GOP unity in opposing Wall Street reform.
(Update: President Obama issued a statement after the vote, blasting Republicans for blocking public debate of Wall Street reform:
“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin. Some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether. But the American people can’t afford that. A lack of consumer protections and a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly brought our economy to its knees, and helped cause the pain that has left millions of Americans without jobs and without homes. The reform that both parties have been working on for a year would prevent a crisis like this from happening again, and I urge the Senate to get back to work and put the interests of the country ahead of party.”