Obama: ‘I’m Confident’ We’ll Still Pass Financial Reform — Even Without Byrd’s Vote

Rapport Syndication/Newscom

President Obama said today that he’s “confident” about financial reform’s prospects, even after the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), a key vote for reform that Democrats are now hard pressed to replace.Speaking to reporters after an Oval Office meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and others, Obama said Byrd will be “sorely missed,” but that he wasn’t thinking about the Senator’s passing in the context of legislation.

“I’m concerned about the fact that a giant in the Senate and a personal friend of mine passed away,” Obama said. “I’m confident that, given the package that was put together, that senators, hopefully on both sides on the aisle, will recognize that it’s time we put in place rules that prevent taxpayer bailouts.”

Obama added that he thinks there’s “enough interest in moving reform forward that we will get this done.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Brown (D-MA) has come out and said he will not vote for reform, pegging his opposition to a fee on big banks added during final negotiations. With Byrd’s death and Sen. Russ Feingold opposing the bill from the left, Democrats need to secure all remaining swing votes — Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME) — to avoid a filibuster of the bill in the Senate.