Senate Democrats Fail to End Debate on Wall Street Bill

Posted May 19, 2010 at 3:52pm

Senate Democrats failed to end debate on the financial reform bill Wednesday as Members continued to disagree over time agreements for a handful of amendments.

The Senate voted 57-42 against the motion to cut off debate. Sixty votes were necessary to beat back a filibuster, or invoke cloture, on the motion.

“We’ve been trying now for many hours to get a consent agreement to allow us to move forward on some of these amendments,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor just before the vote. “I think it would be in the best interest of the body, both Democrats and Republicans, to have the cloture vote.”

Democrats were unable to invoke cloture — a
task made more difficult with the absence of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who
lost his primary election Tuesday. Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.) joined Republicans in voting against the motion, while Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted in
favor.

Reid had temporarily called off holding the vote earlier Wednesday as he tried to shore up support within his caucus. Reid has said he hopes to
finish the Wall Street overhaul by the end of the week.

Just before the vote was called, Cantwell could be seen on the floor talking with Agriculture Chairman Blanche Lincoln
(D-Ark.). Cantwell has been pushing for an amendment to be considered on the floor, and she is opposed to watering down language authored by Lincoln on derivatives.

Reid said he wanted to “get this cloture thing out of the way” in order to continue talks and work out an agreement with Senators on both sides of the aisle.

“We’ll probably have some people who want to talk a little post-cloture, and
we’ll continue working on this,” Reid said. “We have really worked hard
together. I think there’s been a show of bipartisanship in this bill.”