Coy no more. Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) says he expects to vote for the Dems' Wall Street reform bill.
"While it isn't perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote," reads a statement from Brown's office. "It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes."
By remaining undecided, Brown and other Republican moderates forced Dems to put off passing the Wall Street reform bill and sending it off to the White House until after the July 4 recess. That's a familiar pattern: Senate Republican leaders have pushed swing vote Republicans to at least delay passage of Democratic initiatives.
Brown now gives Dems 58 votes. They'll still need both Maine senators if they hope to pass the bill before West Virginia governor Joe Manchin appoints a replacement for Robert Byrd. According to Senate leadership, a vote on the final legislation could come as early as this week.So...this may actually happen. So now that Brown has put his chips in, what will the Ladies From Maine demand, and will it be enough to sink the bill? It's not a done deal yet and a lot could go wrong still. But...the bill is a lot closer than it was just last Friday.
I still am expecting something to go wrong, however. Perhaps Senator Byrd's death motivated a few folks to do the right thing. Perhaps monkeys will fly out of my ass too. Or perhaps Ben Nelson will go from yes to undecided again because he's an asshole and wants another special deal.
The bad news: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) explicitly told reporters this evening he's not committed to voting for the legislation, citing a handful of measures, and concern about potential future directors of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Why should President Obama choose who heads the new CFPB, when President Ben Nelson can do it for him? After all, isn't Ben Nelson the most important guy in Washington, just like he was the most important guy in the health care debates with his Cornhusker Kickback (which of course got killed in favor of a special deal for pretty much everyone because, well everyone wanted their cut).
"You don't know who's going to be head of the consumer protection bureau," Nelson said after a vote. "You can't just send a rogue agency out on its own."
The suggestion is that Nelson wants input behind the scenes on who the White House might nominate to run the new agency.
After all, why should Ben Nelson be the only greedy asshole and hold a bill hostage when Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Evan Bayh, Joe Liberman, Susan Collins, or Max Baucus can too?
It's not the safe Dems in the liberal districts who are going to lose, folks.