United GOP Front Against Wall St. Bill

By Carrie Budoff Brown
|  Saturday, Apr 17, 2010  |  Updated 12:45 PM EDT
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United GOP Front Against Wall St. Bill

GOP threatens to block reform bill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has commitments from every Republican senator to block consideration this week of the Democrats’ Wall Street reform bill, a McConnell spokesman said Saturday.

The unified opposition means Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at this point lacks the crucial 60th vote to begin debate on the bill as it is currently written. But he could still pick off some Republicans to support the first procedural vote known as a motion to proceed by making some changes to the measure.

“All 41 senators agree on the motion to proceed and that the bill is flawed—but can be fixed,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said.

It’s unclear what Senate Democrats would be willing to give up. Republicans will push for Democrats to drop a $50 billion industry-financed fund to wind down failing firms, which the administration has described as not “essential” to the legislation. But if Senate Democrats make that concession, or any others, they will press Republicans for hard commitments to vote for the bill.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had been the lone GOP holdout in an effort by McConnell to line up opposition to the bill. But she agreed Friday to sign on to a letter that called for Democrats to put a bipartisan bill on the floor. The letter stopped short of stating that the Republican conference would back a filibuster of the measure.

But in a statement released through the minority leader’s office, Collins affirmed that she would vote against bringing the bill to the Senate floor.

“If the Majority Leader brings the partisan Senate Banking Committee bill to the floor next week, Senator Collins will vote against a motion to proceed,” the statement read.

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