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GOP Mulls Options for Financial Reform Debate

However, if the administration and Senate Democrats insist on legislation that the GOP believes would overregulate Wall Street and hamper job creation and economic growth, GOP leaders want to be able to push back with a united front. Even if their opposition eventually breaks, Republicans would at least like to ensure that any Democratic victory is drawn out and politically painful.

“This week is the first time that the Republican leadership is really paying attention to this,” one lobbyist said Thursday. “I think they’re very much trying to figure out where they are. But if they can keep 41 together, the will is there to not just cede this over to the administration.”

Given the favorable political climate for Republicans at this point in the election cycle and voter unease with Washington, some GOP operatives argue that a fight over financial regulatory reform could benefit the minority. But many Republicans remain wary of appearing to back Wall Street at time when unemployment remains high.

Indeed, Republicans are likely to frame their goals for financial reform in terms of job creation and protecting the taxpayer, regardless of the legislative outcome.

“I think the GOP will continue the general message strategy of less government and lower taxes,” one Republican operative said. “The GOP base is fired up, and independents are very receptive to that message right now. I honestly don’t believe they need to veer off of that.”

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