On the other side, GOP leaders would like more than anything to draw out floor action a bit longer. When Reid moved three weeks ago to bring the bill to the floor, Republicans held together for several days, repeatedly voting to delay the debate, but finally relented when moderates made it clear they wanted the filibuster to end. A repeat performance could be in order, though many of the same moderates, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), have seen their amendments adopted in the past several days.
The top financial reform negotiators, Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), have been putting together a final package of changes to round out the debate, and it is likely to scale back the bill's title regulating derivatives trading. That section of the legislation was authored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who's in a closely contested primary and has been guarding her left flank--including by proposing tougher-than-expected derivatives rules. Democrats have sought to delay changing her plan until after today's election. In the end, the Democrats' ability to pass the bill may depend on when that so-called manager's amendment is complete.
Once the bill is passed, the differences between it, and a House-passed Wall Street reform bill will be ironed out, though it's unclear whether that process will take place in a formal conference committee, or, as the White House prefers, through a more informal negotiating process between Democratic principals.