Reid: Wall Street Debate To End In Senate This Week

Reid: Wall Street Debate To End In Senate This Week

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is "likely" to file cloture on the Wall Street reform bill Monday evening, setting up a final vote on the legislation for Wednesday, said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

Reid said from the well of the Senate earlier Monday that "as soon as tonight, we could file cloture on this and hold a final vote this week."

Dozens of amendments have yet to be voted on, with senators jockeying for precious floor time. Reid's determination to finish the bill by the middle of the week makes it all the harder to get an individual amendment to the floor.

"I do remind all my colleagues that the amendment process can continue after cloture is filed and after it is invoked," Reid said.

Cloture is required to overcome objections to move forward on a bill. With 60 votes, cloture is invoked and a final vote can be held after an intervening day.

Several amendments to strengthen the bill are in line for a vote, including one from Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that would implement the Volcker Rule, which bars commercial banks from trading with taxpayer-backed funds.

Another, from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would require credit cards to follow the laws of the state where a customer resides, rather than the non-existent laws of the state where the credit card company builds its headquarters -- typically South Dakota or Delaware.

As the public debate has carried on, the bill has been made stronger. Reform advocates are hoping for similar transparency during conference committee negotiations, which are typically held behind closed doors, where killing key provisions is easier.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is pushing to hold such negotiations in front of C-SPAN cameras.

First, though, the Senate must wrap up its work.

"The Senate has voted for amendments to strengthen the bill and has voted against efforts to weaken it. Democrats and Republicans have voted for each other's amendments. This is the way it should be. But the end must come. The time has come to begin work sending this to conference so we can have a bill go to the president. I hope the two managers of this bill, Chairman Dodd and ranking member Shelby, can continue to work on this bill. Another reason to finish sooner rather than later is that we have such important work to do this month," said Reid. "At the top of that list is a new jobs bill."

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