Vote To End Debate On Financial Reform Falls Short In Senate

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Senate Democrats failed this afternoon to get the 60 votes they needed to end debate on the financial reform bill.

Two Republicans crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats. But with multiple Democrats voting against cloture, and another absent, the Democrats fell just short. The final vote was 57-42.Some Democrats whose votes were still in doubt earlier today — like Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) — voted in favor of cloture. But others — Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) — voted against cloture.

Two Republicans voted with the Democratic majority — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). But with two Democrats opposed, and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) absent, it wasn’t enough.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also voted against cloture, though this was simply for procedural reasons that allow him to bring up the motion again.

Before the vote, Reid said “we have really worked hard” and that “there has been a show of bipartisanship in this bill.”

The vote was delayed from its scheduled 2 p.m. ET start time — presumably while Democrats tried to sort out how to appease progressives who wanted votes on their amendments, or to try and convince Republicans to stop blocking votes on those amendments.

Also today, TPMDC confirmed that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) plans to drop his push to weaken derivatives reform.

Late Update: Feingold has released the following statement explaining his “no” vote, saying that “Ending debate on the bill is finishing before the job is done.”

After thirty years of giving in to the wishes of Wall Street lobbyists, Congress needs to finally enact tough reforms to prevent Wall Street from driving our economy into the ditch again. We need to eliminate the risk posed to our economy by ‘too big to fail’ financial firms and to reinstate the protective firewalls between Main Street banks and Wall Street firms. Unfortunately, these key reforms are not included in the bill. The test for this legislation is a simple one – whether it will prevent another financial crisis. As the bill stands, it fails that test. Ending debate on the bill is finishing before the job is done.

Later Update: After the vote, Reid told reporters that “a Senator broke his word with me.” He didn’t name names.

Additional reporting by Brian Beutler.

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