GOP Poised to Give Up Financial Reform Filibuster
Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET
After blocking debate over financial reform legislation for the third day in a row, Republicans appear ready to end their filibuster.
Negotiations with Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) have reached an impasse, Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee said in a statement this afternoon. While he will continue to vote against bringing the bill to the Senate floor for debate, Shelby said it is now up to his Republican colleagues' individual judgments as to how to vote. It is likely that some Republicans will vote in favor of debate.
Shelby called the compromises made in his negotiations with Dodd "significant and meaningful" and said he received assurances from Dodd that Democrats will change to the bill to address Shelby's concerns relating to ending bank bailouts.
However, Shelby said he remains opposed to the new consumer protection bureau the bill would create, which he says would have "unchecked authority to regulate whatever it wants, whenever it wants, however it wants." He also said the Democrats' plans to regulate the derivative market "would have far-reaching and devastating effects" on the economy.
In his own statement today, Dodd said he had "productive" talks with Shelby over the past year and a half, "but I cannot agree to his desire to weaken consumer protections given the enormous abuses we have seen."
"It is time for this debate to begin," he added. "And it must be a serious, vigorous debate."
After trying three times to bring the bill to the Senate floor for debate, Democrats were ready to keep the Senate in session overnight to pressure Republicans to drop their opposition to debate, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen reports.
"They are filibustering the opportunity of the United States Senate to debate Wall Street reform, and that point has to be made clear," Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said today. "If the Republicans will let us get to the bill, I think Leader [Harry] Reid is prepared to work out a reasonable work schedule to complete this bill in a timely way, giving everyone an opportunity to offer their amendments."
A fourth vote to begin debate, called a "cloture" vote, is expected soon. Reid made the unusual move of scheduling multiple cloture votes in succession this week in order to highlight GOP obstruction. In Iowa yesterday, President Obama criticized Senate Republicans for blocking efforts to move forward, saying Americans deserve an "honest debate."
Today at an event in Quincy, Illinois, Mr. Obama said he is pleased it appears the debate will move forward.
"I want to work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, who wants to pursue these reforms in good faith," he said. While Republicans have said in recent days that Congress should spend more time on negotiations, the president said, "I think we've been moving too slow. It's time to get this done."
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