Every member of the Senate Republican Caucus has signed a letter, delivered to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, expressing opposition to the Democrats’ financial regulatory reform bill, which they all claim will lead to more Wall Street bailouts.
“We are united in our opposition to the partisan legislation reported by the Senate Banking Committee,” the letter reads. “As currently constructed, this bill allows for endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and establishes new and unlimited regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and community banks.”
As of last night, 40 of the Senate’s 41 Republicans had signed the letter. The lone holdout, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), said yesterday that she opposed the legislation but hadn’t yet decided whether to sign, and it’s not clear what convinced her.
Though the letter is unequivocal about the GOP’s opposition to the bill, it does not contain an explicit threat to use the Senate rules to block debate on the bill, if Reid tries to bring it to the floor.
But though the letter does not draw that particular bright line, it markedly stiffens the caucus’ position. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made waves Tuesday by blasting the Dems’ proposal, claiming it would institutionalize taxpayer funded bailouts of Wall Street. The assertion was widely disputed by both Democrats and experts, and more than 24 hours later, several Republicans were unwilling to endorse McConnell’s take. One of them, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), even suggested GOP leadership should tone down its rhetoric and try to reach consensus with Democrats.
Now, it seems, they’ve all decided to endorse that line.
You can read the full letter here.