Snowe Softens On Financial Reform: ‘I’m Always Willing To Be The Only Republican’

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April 19, 2010 1:24 p.m.
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It would be going too far to say Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is a shoe-in to vote for the Democrats’ financial regulatory reform bill. But after a meeting with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner this afternoon, she sounded much more optimistic about the prospects for a swift bipartisan vote on a slightly modified package than she did last week–and that’s even if she’s the only Republican who ends up voting with the Democrats.

“I’m optimistic that maybe the Democrats won’t go forward with the bill as it is,” Snowe told reporters outside her office. “Over the next few days, hopefully, something will change to make that possible. I don’t see why it would be impossible because frankly I think that there isn’t that much of a gap.”Would such an agreement be possible within the week, to keep within the Democrats’ preferred timeframe?

“I think it certainly could be, absolutely,” Snowe said. “I’m always willing to be the only Republican if it’s the right thing, and it’s important to do the right thing on this.”

Compare that to her fellow moderate, and Maine colleague Susan Collins who today said she’d like to see negotiations continue for “the next few weeks.”

Both Collins and Snowe take issue with a handful of provisions in the Democrats’ bill, but they most vocally oppose a proposal to create a $50 billion liquidation fund, raised by assessing a fee on major financial institutions. But the Obama administration sides with the Republicans on that issue.

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