Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GOP's Scott Brown to vote for
financial regulation overhaul

From Michael Muskal of the Los Angeles Times on July 12:
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown said on Monday that he will support the financial regulation overhaul, becoming one of the Republicans needed to moved one of the Obama administration’s key pieces of legislation into law.

Brown had announced that he would oppose the compromise bill that had been negotiated by the House and Senate, but shifted his support after bargainers went back to the table and restructured about $19 billion in payments that was opposed by banks in Brown’s state. A final Senate vote could come this week.

“I appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, especially the removal of the $19-billion bank tax. As a result, it is a better bill than it was when this whole process started. While it isn't perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote,” Brown said in a prepared statement.

Brown joined Sen. Susan Collins of Maine as two crucial Republican votes for the legislation.

Democrats need 60 votes to prevent a GOP filibuster. Even with Brown and Collins, the vote is expected to be close. The death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) has costs the Democrats a sure yes vote, and at least two Democrats have said they were unhappy with the final form of the bill, though at least one said she is likely to vote for it.

Two other Republicans, Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Charles Grassley of Iowa, are possible yes votes. The two supported an earlier version of the bill.

The bill is one of the Obama administration’s legislative goals as it heads into the midterm elections. The bill includes new regulations to make derivative trading more transparent and includes a consumer agency.

In his statement, Brown warned that there was more work to be done.

“Further reforms are still needed to address the government’s role in the financial crisis, including significant changes to the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate,” he said. Seeking new regulations on the agencies that handle mortgages is a GOP talking point.


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