A little more than a week ago, Mitch McConnell had whipped his caucus firmly into line, and all 41 Republican senators had signed a letter criticizing the Democrats’ financial reform proposal — indicating the GOP was likely to filibuster on the measure. McConnell said Democrats should start from scratch on Wall Street reform, the same tactic the GOP has used with health care reform.
But it now looks like the GOP is changing tactics. Bob Corker and Richard Shelby have told reporters that they are busy negotiating with Democrats to pass Wall Street reform. Could it be that the SEC’s lawsuit against Goldman Sachs, which is dominating the headlines and reminding Americans of Wall Street follies, has made the GOP skeptical about opposing Wall Street reform?
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee who’s been in financial reform talks with chairman Chris Dodd, tells TPMDC’s Brian Beutler that an agreement is close at hand.
“We’re very close to a deal and there will be a substantial number of Republicans that go along with it,” Shelby said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he expects to bring the bill to the Senate floor at the end of this week or early next week.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), another financial reform negotiator who had dinner last night with Shelby, said today he expects all 100 senators to vote to begin debate on the bill. Corker guessed the final bill would be able to pass with 70 or 80 votes.
Of course, the GOP could be stalling, waiting for the Goldman Sachs lawsuit to fade from the headlines. That’s what they did with health care reform — pretend to negotiate in good faith when they clearly had no intention of voting for a health care bill. Max Baucus and two other Democrats spent months negotiating with three Republicans, to no available. Not a single GOP senator voted for health care legislation.
But the delay allowed the Republicans to redefine health care legislation as a miserable bit of socialism, turning public opinion against it.
Chris Dodd should be wary of GOP delays on Wall Street reform. He ought to have a bill ready for a vote in the next two weeks.