Scott Brown of Massachusetts has decided to support the anemic financial reform bill because, as The Washington Post reports, “he got nearly everything he wanted.” The bill is now expected to pass with the support of at least two other Republicans, including Maine’s Olympia Snowe.
That Brown was able to so easily win concessions from Democrats reminds us of what Sen. Russ Feingold said when he explained his principled opposition to the bill: “ ... The administration and conference leaders have gone to significant lengths to avoid making the bill stronger. Rather than discussing with me ways to strengthen the bill, for example, they chose to eliminate a levy that was to be imposed on the largest banks and hedge funds in order to obtain the vote of members who prefer a weaker bill. Nothing could be more revealing of the true position of those who are crafting this legislation. They had a choice between pursuing a weaker bill or a stronger one. Their decision is clear.”
Indeed, Scott Brown was able to support the final bill only because of the capitulation Feingold describes.
Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, who opposed a previous incarnation of the bill, has indicated that she will vote for the final version. —PZS
If Democrats remain united and win votes from Brown, Cantwell, Collins and Snowe, they will eclipse the filibuster-proof 60 votes needed to send the bill to Obama. If necessary, they could wait until the Democratic governor of West Virginia names a replacement for Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who died last month.
Like Snowe, Brown said that he reviewed the massive bill over the Fourth of July recess and that he appreciated the efforts to shape it more toward his liking, especially by removing the assessments on banks and hedge funds. True to form, however, he said his vote doesn’t imply total satisfaction.
Scott Brown, the senator from Cosmo.