Reid: Vote Will Show Who Wants to Get Tough on Wall Street

Posted April 26, 2010 at 1:59pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday looked to define the chamber’s 5 p.m. procedural vote on financial reform as a victory, even though the motion is expected to fail along party lines.

“Today’s vote to begin debate on Wall Street accountability will answer many questions,” Reid said on the floor. “It will reveal who believes we need to strengthen oversight on Wall Street and who does not.”

Reid’s comments came as Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) continued to meet on the issue. The Senate duo had been hoping to reach an agreement before this evening’s vote, but that appears increasingly unlikely.

Republicans will likely unveil an alternative financial reform bill this week as Shelby continues to haggle with Dodd over key issues. No Republican is expected to vote in favor of Monday evening’s cloture motion to consider Dodd’s version of financial reform, designed to rein in banks and stem the kind of financial crisis that rocked Wall Street in 2008.

“We can solve this problem, but we won’t solve the problem if we vote for cloture tonight,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during his opening remarks

Added McConnell: “A vote for cloture is a vote that says we’re done listening to the American people on this issue, and a vote against ending this debate is a vote for bipartisanship, for working out an ironclad solution to the problem of ‘Too Big to Fail.'”

Even if Democrats are unsuccessful at Monday’s vote, financial reform is expected to dominate the Senate agenda this week. Former and current executives at Goldman Sachs, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, will testify before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday in a high-profile hearing on the role investment banks played in the collapse of mortgage industry.