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Harry Reid: GOP "Making Love to Wall Street"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., looks at signed petition papers on a table in support of a strong financial reform, during a news conference discussing Wall Street accountability legislation, Wednesday, May 5, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused the Republican Party of "making love to Wall Street," as illustrated by moves to delay votes on amendments to the financial reform bill.

"They won't let us move on any amendments," he said, adding that "It's obvious that they do not want to put in decent restrictions" on the financial industry.

Reid suggested the GOP is stalling because "they are having difficulty determining how they're going to continue making love to Wall Street" by opposing regulation.

At a news conference, the majority leader said Republicans have been putting up as many obstacles as possible to slow down the march to a reform bill. Republicans maintain that they are simply trying to make the bill better.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee emailed reporters following the comments, deeming them "bizarre" and noting Reid has taken significant donations from the financial industry.

"Considering Nevada's unemployment stands at 13%, Senator Reid would be well-advised to get his mind off sex and onto getting America's economy back on track," said NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh.

As the New York Times notes, Democrats have had two amendments pending since last Thursday; Reid had the option to cut off debate to force a vote, but the process takes days and he would need to garner the support of at least one Republican.

After Reid spoke, the Hill reports, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said there had been a breakthrough in negotiations that could help the bill move forward.

The Senate, in fact, will begin voting on amendments this afternoon, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen reports.

The first two amendments to be considered deal with the "too big to fail" issue.

The first prohibits taxpayer funding or losses as a result of liquidation of large banks that fail. The second drops the $50 billion fund to help liquidate large failing firms, replacing it with a system in which the FDIC would borrow money from the Treasury Department to cover the costs to dismantle troubled large firms.

In turn, the FDIC would recover those costs by selling off the assets of the failing firms. As a last resort, a fee could be assessed on large banks to help cover any additional costs necessary.

Reid has indicated he would like to have a final passage vote by the end of next week. Republicans say they think it will take longer to complete the bill since there are numerous amendments to be considered.

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