Ben Nelson Gives Democrats 60th Vote on Wall Street Reform; Obama Hails Breakthrough

wall street reform

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Senate Democratic leaders confirmed today they have the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican-led filibuster and pass the Wall Street reform bill.

President Obama this afternoon praised the Democrats who pushed the sweeping measure forward as well as the three GOP senators who support the measure, saying they put "politics and partisanship" aside.

"We can't allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again," Mr. Obama said. "This reform will prevent that from happening."

Democrats secured 60 votes today when moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced he will vote in favor of the legislation.

"Nebraska taxpayers have already been asked to bail out banks, and now we must protect them from future abuses by Wall Street that cost thousands of Nebraskans and millions of Americans their jobs, savings and financial security," Nelson said in a statement.

The comprehensive reform package creates a bureau to regulate consumer financial products, regulates the fees banks charge businesses for processing debit card transactions and adds new mortgage lending regulations, among other things. Mr. Obama said today the reforms will be "good for families, good for businesses, good for the entire economy."

The legislation was imperiled last month after Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd (W.V.) died and moderate Republican Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) pulled back his support for the measure because of the $19 billion in bank fees added to the bill.

Yesterday, however, Brown and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) announced they will support the measure. Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) is also on board.

One Democrat, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, has said he opposes the bill for being insufficiently progressive.

UPDATE: With the votes in hand to overcome Republican delaying tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he hoped for final passage on Thursday. The House already has passed the bill.

Wall Street Reform: A Summary of What's In the Bill