With Democrats scrambling to
round up votes for their sweeping Wall Street reform bill, House and Senate negotiators
hurried to schedule a special meeting at 5pm this evening to tweak the
compromise they reached just last week.
The bill was thrown into flux when Sen. Robert Byrd passed
away Sunday night. And Sen. Scott Brown, who sided with Democrats to overcome a
Republican filibuster, said he was unhappy with the compromise reached last
week by the Democratic negotiators.
According to a Democratic aide, lawmakers at the special meeting planned to
discuss a proposal to end the $700 billion TARP and put any unused TARP
authority towards offsetting the cost of the financial regulatory reform bill.
They would would scrap $19 billion bank tax which triggered opposition
from Brown and the wavering of Maine Republicans Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia
Snowe, all of whom supported the bill in May.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is still reviewing the bill but he too
opposes the bank tax. Grassley voted against the bill in a crucial procedural
vote in May but then switched and voted in favor of it at the final vote.
Democrats need to convince some of these GOP lawmakers to support the bill if
they are to pass the most sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulations since
the Great Depression.
Overall Democrats remain confident that they can get the bill passed – and
soon. Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, told
reporters this afternoon that they still hope to get the final bill passed by
the end of this week.
-Matthew Jaffe & Z. Byron Wolf