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Senate Takes Final Steps on Financial Bill

Source: WSJ

Posted on 14 Jul 2010

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The U.S. Senate will begin the final debate on broad changes to financial markets Tuesday after Democrats secured the votes necessary to move forward with the administration's response to the fiscal crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he plans to begin debate later Tuesday on compromise legislation negotiated by the House and Senate. That would set up a procedural vote and possible final vote as early as Thursday.

Senate passage would send the legislation, a key White House priority, to President Barack Obama for his signature. Mr. Obama on Tuesday said he hoped to sign the measure into law next week.

Democrats appeared ready to cross the finish line in the yearlong process to rewrite rules for Wall Street after securing the support of three moderate Republicans. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, have all restated their support for the measure in the last day.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said Tuesday he would vote for the financial-overhaul bill, less than 24 hours after telling reporters he had concerns about how the package would be implemented.

"We must rein in rash Wall Street behavior and appropriately regulate the financial services industries," Mr. Nelson said in a statement released by his office.

Mr. Nelson's support likely gives the White House either 60 or 61 votes for the bill, enough to block a possible filibuster. He was one of the last Democrats to make up his mind on the bill.

The House already passed the sweeping legislation to rewrite the rules for U.S. finance, voting 237-192 on June 30 to send the 2,300-plus page bill to the Senate for approval. The measure would overhaul regulation of the financial-services industry, giving overseers broad new authority to address and respond to systemic risks to the economy, as well as provide new regulation of financial products offered to consumers.

he key to passage was attracting the support of Ms. Snowe, Mr. Brown and Ms. Collins, and it wasn't until Monday evening that Ms. Snowe said she would cross the aisle to work with Democrats.

"After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it's brought before the Senate for consideration," Ms. Snowe said in a statement released by her office.

Mr. Brown earlier Monday released a statement offering his support, adding Monday evening that the legislation would "make sure we don't have the same type of problems," he said.