What had been a fairly non-contentious debate over Wall Street reform legislation nearly came off the rails on Tuesday after Republicans--tacitly backed (or at least unimpeded) by top Democrats--used Senate rules to block votes on far-reaching, consumer-friendly amendments, portending a potential progressive revolt.
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This afternoon at 2 pm, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attempt to bring debate on the financial reform bill to a close, though it remains unclear whether he has the 60 votes he'll need to prevail.
A big reason for that? A number of Democrats--most vocally, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)--have threatened to vote against ending debate until their flagship amendments get a vote on the floor. But Republicans are standing in the way, saying they'll filibuster those amendments, subjecting each to a 60 vote requirement, and, more importantly, several days' worth of delay. Faced with a choice between picking a fight with Republicans over those amendments and simply moving ahead with the bill, Democratic leadership has, for now, chosen the latter.