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McConnell doesn't have the votes to filibuster FinReg. Yet.

mcconnellno41.jpg

Looks like Mitch McConnell is having some trouble holding Senate Republicans to a filibuster strategy on financial reform.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) does not have enough solid commitments from GOP lawmakers to block consideration of a Democratic Wall Street reform bill.

McConnell has circulated a letter within the GOP conference that would have Republicans pledge to block a motion to proceed to a financial regulatory reform bill unless Democrats agree to reopen it for bipartisan negotiations.

But McConnell has fallen short of the 41 signatures he needs to send Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a clear signal.

Right now, the only named dissenter is Sen. Susan Collins. Whether she's the only dissenter or one of a handful, however, is very important. One thing we've seen at various point in the past year is that it's very, very difficult for any Republican to be the only Republican on a major Democratic bill. Olympia Snowe can negotiate on health-care reform and Bob Corker can sit with Chris Dodd on financial reform, but at the end of the day, if they can't bring anyone onto the compromise they've hammered out, they probably can't commit to it, either.

It's one thing to be part of a moderate bloc bucking the party. Blame is diffuse, and so too is punishment. It's another thing to be the only Republican bucking the party. Then blame, and punishment, are concentrated. You'll get made an example of.

Update: McConnell looks to have gotten 41 Republicans onto a softer form of his letter. Now it says that Republicans oppose the bill without changes, but there's no promise of a filibuster. You can read the letter here.

Photo credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post

By Ezra Klein  |  April 16, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Financial Regulation  
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Comments

It seems McConnell and the Republicans are opposed to the Democrats bill because it isn't tough enough on Wall Street. I look forward to hearing the minority leaders ideas on how to make it even tougher on Wall Street!

Posted by: MyrtleParker | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

It seems McConnell and the Republicans are opposed to the Democrats bill because it isn't tough enough on Wall Street. I look forward to hearing the minority leaders ideas on how to make it even tougher on Wall Street!

Posted by: MyrtleParker | April 16, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

So when is the final vote planned?

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 16, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

So when is the final vote planned?

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 16, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, Corker sure sounded reasonable in the interview the other day. It's time to prove it! If the only thing between voting for the bill and not is a list of 14 things you think are not very controversial, you certainly can't hate the bill enough to deny it an up or down vote.

Posted by: MosBen | April 16, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

So when is the final vote planned?

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 16, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Corker sure sounded sincere and reasonable in the interview the other day. Well, it's time to prove it! If all that stands between you and voting for this piece of legislation are 14 things you think are not very controversial, you certainly must not hate the bill enough to stop it on a procedural ground. Your objections may be enough to stop you from voting for the thing, but surely it deserves a debate and a vote!

Posted by: MosBen | April 16, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Might want to update this Ezra - looks like Collins has fallen (in line).

Posted by: jadamvogt | April 16, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Once again McConnell tels a lie and then continues to stand by his lie. Does not one think it rather strange that he comes directly from a meeting with the Wall Stree gang back to the Senate and starts his usual caterwauling and lies.

If McConnell wasn't lying, his mouth would be totally closed.

Also, by the way, does this man eat lemons for a snack, notice how he is always pruned up with those smarmy pursed lips and the stern expression. Probably never smiled a day in his life except when a Democrat was injured or sick and couldn't make a vote.

Posted by: hhodges1 | April 16, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"It's another thing to be the only Republican bucking the party. Then blame, and punishment, are concentrated. You'll get made an example of."

Well, then. Let's just keep the status quo. Allow Goldman Sachs to hold the economy hostage again when the next crisis comes. Bailouts, bubbles, record unemployment...that's been awesome! Please, let's keep doing it!

Doesn't she have a press conference to attend on how the census is unconstitutional or something? Or a filibuster to support on something that's ultimately going to pass 90-3? Some conference on death panels and the fiscal catastrophe of Obama's health plan?

You know, important Republican priorities like that.

Posted by: theorajones1 | April 16, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Ezra:

I'm glad to hear that common-sense and reason is finally taking hold of the senate republican caucus. Or at the very least, they're showing they have a conscience.

Ever since McConnell took the helm it's been No to this and 'Hell no' to that. I think republicans are realizing that obstructionism cannot be the only play in the playbook.

Also, Obama's taking a strong stance on this issue as well. SO, I foresee finreg being quite a contentious issue; summoning strong feelings on both sides of the isle with little room for compromise.

Should be a good show.

I hope the good guys win. . .

Posted by: dep05 | April 16, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

We are against health care. We are against Wall Street reform. We are against anything that helps "average Americans". We ARE for lower taxes on the rich. We ARE for policies to allow corporations to ship jobs off shore. We ARE for endless wars. We ARE for minimizing anything to protect the environment. We are for maximum defense spending on weapons designed for the cold war (and which mostly don't work). We ARE for legislating religion and OUR social values. We ARE for promoting hate and bigotry. We ARE republicans.

Posted by: Pearl77 | April 16, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me...the points of contention are two:
1) Does the bill, in fact, ensure against future bailouts? Senator pruneface says no.
2) Will the bill create a gigantic new federal bureaucracy for (financial) consumer protection? Senator pruneface says Yes.

If Senator pruneface is correct about either of the above, the opposition is both sensible and principled. Not to say he is right, just to say that the differences are legitimate and assembling 41 votes to get a better bill (better from their point of view) is good politics.

Now, since Senator pruneface is being criticized as partisan, we need to remember that Robert Rubin, John Corzine, Georg Soros, in fact most of the big wheels on Wall Street are a Democratic constituency. So he can't be motivated by trying to please them.

And, let's not assume it a coincidence that the civil fraud charges filed today against Goldman just happen to put a nice populist touch on the push for the Administration's version of "financial reform." If you don't feel manipulated, you ain't got feeling.

Posted by: CincinnatiRIck | April 16, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Anything with the word "reform" in it seems to stick in McConnell's craw. If it's good enough for him not to like, it probably ought to be passed. The man is not to be trusted with the good of the American people in mind. He's too static in his thinking and not open to compromise. Bipartisanship was fine when he and his party were calling the shots, but there's obviously a double-standard in play here, as he so richly demonstrates.

Posted by: sober1 | April 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The bill is out of committee. It's time to go to the floor. Republicans are blocking debate - which means they are blocking amendments. So their argument is the bill isn't good enough or bi-partisan enough and our solution is to not allow the bill to come to the floor to be improved.

Apparently Republicans would rather change the bill through back room deals out of the public light. I seem to remember them complaining about that a while ago. What changed? Oh yeah, Republicans lie a lot.

Posted by: zattarra | April 16, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what the bill says; if Obama is for it then the Party of NO is against it. Plain and simple. To vote against financial reform after what has taken place this year on Wall Street means the Republicans must be getting some huge kickbacks. If the Republicans take back the house and senate this year, Wall ST. will throw a big party!!!!!

Posted by: pgmichigan | April 16, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It's like the kid you warn: "we're leaving in 10 min."

He starts to cry when you walk out to the car and is in full on histrionics as you drive away.

When you refuse to participate - you take a gamble- when the bill moves on without you - You Lose.

Democrats finally grew a set and finished health care. Hopefully they will develop a taste for blood and give us Financial reform and a decent replacement for Stevens too.

Posted by: TisforTwit | April 16, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

McConnell is opposed to the bill simply because he's opposed to the Democrats; and he's especially opposed to President Obama.

Posted by: kentuckywoman2 | April 16, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

think the Republicans are just stupid. I don't understand how you can believe a word they say. The GOP had scandal after scandal. The Republican Party, has been caught in lie after lie about Healthcare Reform, Taxes, now Financial Reform, and they haven't governed in over a year, isn't that why their in congress? They have leaders like Sara Palin, one is making millions of dollars and the most ignorant woman in the world besides Michelle Bachmann, Which I wonder how the hell did she get into congress. She doesn't make sense, just a crazy women. and the Tea Party people who are making a fuss all over about taxes and its been proven that the taxes under obama is lower than under Bush. Are their followers just stupid. Are they hypnotised. Or they just don't expect any transparency, or honesty from their elected officials. What happened to death panels, Armageddon, pull the plug on grandma, death to the country. These followers of the Republican Party need to wake up and open their minds and see that the Republican Party will say and do anything to get re- elected. Oh yeah I forgot they are reactionary. You guys are a bunch of idiots

Posted by: amosdefnails | April 16, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

CincinnatiRick: "Now, since Senator pruneface is being criticized as partisan, we need to remember that Robert Rubin, John Corzine, Georg Soros, in fact most of the big wheels on Wall Street are a Democratic constituency. So he can't be motivated by trying to please them."

If the Democratic bill is so inadequate, why are Wall Street interests fighting it so hard? Please.

If I were a Democrat running negotiations, I'd say no more talks unless Republicans are willing to say what it would take to get them on the bill. Democrats made concession after concession on health care and got nothing as Republicans kept moving the goal posts. Not again. I say put a tough bill on the floor and dare Republicans to vote no.

Posted by: dasimon | April 16, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

McConnell and Greedy Old Men party make me sick. They'd sign onto the Communist Manifesto if it was a way to undermine President Obama. Smug, hypocritical and wrong. It should be the Dems mission to awaken voters to the duplicity and mendaciousness of these fools.

Posted by: tpowell2 | April 18, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

If McConnell is so concerned about 'back door bail outs' how come they got rid of Larry Craig?
How 'bout the 'back door bail out' movement -- the all(98%)white tea baggers?
Metamusil and SunKist prunes are 'platinum service' sponsors.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | April 18, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Many people are asking why Corker would sign a letter that makes claims he knows are false. It's a great question. We don't expect any relief from the likes of McConnell, who is totally in the pockets of K Street. But Corker?

Posted by: osullivanc1 | April 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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