A number of key senators returned to the Capitol after election Tuesday with good news for Wall Street foes. By defeating her primary challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has strengthened her hand in the final financial reform negotiations, and has given new life to a much-debated provision, which would require financial firms to spin off their derivatives trading desks. But the measure still faces broad and stiff opposition from powerful interest groups and the Obama administration, and there's little if any evidence that Lincoln's victory weakened their resolve to, at the very least, scale it back.
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"She returns as the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, running for re-election in November, which I think gives her a strong bargaining position," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters yesterday.
The reasoning is simple: Facing a tough re-election challenge in November, Democrats will be loath to publicly undercut her, particularly given how great a role her contributions to Wall Street reform played in the Arkansas primary.