Reid Issues Deadline to Finish Financial Reform

Posted May 4, 2010 at 10:14am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is pushing to end consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill by next week, noting the chamber’s laundry list of priorities and narrowing timeline as the election season heats up.

“I hope we can move forward and get this legislation done. We have to finish it by next week,” Reid said on the floor Tuesday, noting the bill will clear “one way or the other by next week.”

Amendments to the bill were still being filed Tuesday morning, and Reid’s deadline to wrap up the measure by next week could cut off consideration of a handful or more of those measures. Republicans could cry foul over Reid’s timeline, arguing they were assured an open amendment process.

A GOP aide predicted, “There would be bipartisan outrage if Reid shortchanged Americans on debate over the financial crisis.”

But with a host of other measures awaiting consideration on the floor and at least 60 votes on financial reform expected to materialize, Reid likely won’t want to take more time than necessary in order to move on down the priority list.

Reid also noted that he hopes the financial reform bill could pass without procedural roadblocks and be held to a 51-vote margin rather than the 60 votes needed to break a potential filibuster.

“I would hope also that we don’t get locked into something that appears to be the order of the Congress around here, that everything has to have 60 votes,” he said.

Awaiting consideration after the financial reform bill are measures to extend expiring tax provisions and unemployment benefits, enact new food safety standards and provide small businesses with loans. The Senate is also expected to consider a Supreme Court nomination this summer, and Democrats still hope to pursue energy and immigration reform despite recent events that have complicated both issues.