Scott Brown, Snowe Will Back Wall Street Bill

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. talks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 14, 2010, prior to a news conference to discuss his recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
AP Photo/Harry Hamburg
Scott Brown
AP Photo/Harry Hamburg

Updated 7:05 p.m. Eastern Time

Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts has announced he will likely support the Wall Street reform bill.

"I've spent the past week reviewing the Wall Street reform bill. I appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, especially the removal of the $19 billion bank tax," he said in a statement. "As a result, it is a better bill than it was when this whole process started. While it isn't perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote."

Brown added: "It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes. That doesn't mean our work is done. Further reforms are still needed to address the government's role in the financial crisis, including significant changes to the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate."

The bill has been imperiled by the June 28th death of Sen. Robert Byrd and the prior defection of Brown and other moderate Republicans, who objected to a $19 billion fee assessed to banks that was inserted in the bill at the last minute.

Democrats need 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster and get the financial reform measure through the Senate. They have already missed a July 4th deadline to get the bill to the president's desk for signature.

Brown joins Maine Sen. Susan Collins in the small group of Republicans planning to vote for the measure. Democrats are currently working to win over Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who both appear willing to consider backing the bill. (SEE UPDATE -- SNOWE NOW SUPPORTS BILL)

Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin plans to oppose the bill for being insufficiently progressive.

UPDATE: Snowe said late this afternoon she will support the bill.

"After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it's brought before the Senate for consideration," she said in a statement.

But Sen. Ben Nelson, D-NE, who supported the Senate-passed version of the bill, says he is undecided and is still reviewing the conference report.

Without Nelson's support, CBS News Producer John Nolen reports, Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid is still one vote short of the 60 necessary to clear the procedural hurdles in the Senate.