Financial Reform

GOP Votes to Block Floor Debate

While lawmakers on both sides say they’re close to reaching an agreement on financial reform, the Democrats’ far-reaching bill failed to clear an important hurdle Monday evening, as Senate Republicans voted to block the start of floor debate. GOP senators were united in opposition against the Democrats’ legislation to increase regulation of the financial system. In a 57 to 41 vote, the Democrats did not reach their filibuster-proof 60 votes. Senator Ben Nelson was the sole Democrat to side with the GOP; the Nebraska senator expressed concerns over a provision that would restrict rules on derivatives trading, an issue of special concern to investment company Berkshire Hathaway, controlled by Warren Buffett and based in Omaha. And so the finger-pointing began. The Republicans are still intent on achieving changes to the bill and accused the Democrats of rushing the approval process. Democrats charged the Republicans with stalling and siding with wealthy Wall Street interests while leaving the country vulnerable to further financial collapses.