Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., today said he would vote against the Wall Street reform bill, a decision that leaves the Democrats one vote short of the 60 they will need to pass it.
“My test for the financial regulatory reform bill is whether it will prevent another crisis. The conference committee’s proposal fails that test and for that reason I will not vote to advance it,” Feingold said.
Feingold said “the lack of strong reforms” in the bill, such as measures to break up “too big to fail” banks, makes the legislation something he cannot support.
The Wisconsin lawmaker’s “no” means Democrats will have to muster up at least one new supporter for the bill.
When the bill passed a crucial procedural vote in the Senate in May, it did so by the thinnest of margins: 60-40. But two of those 60 “aye” votes came from West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd – who passed away Monday – and Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown – who has indicated he might switch sides because a $19 billion bank tax was included when the bill emerged from conference.
A White House official today told ABC News that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, National Economic Council director Larry Summers, and other administration officials are going to keep on pressing lawmakers on Capitol Hill and other stakeholders this week to get the bill passed. The bill’s passage is a top priority for President Obama and he will do “whatever is helpful to accomplish that goal,” the official said.
But Wall Street backers do not sound too optimistic that the bill could be blocked at this point. A top financial industry lobbyist, when asked if the bill could be derailed in the Senate, told ABC News, “I don’t see it.”
One hope for Democrats could be convincing Washington Dem Maria Cantwell to move into the “aye” column. Cantwell voted no in May because she, like Feingold, believed the bill was not tough enough on Wall Street.
-Matthew Jaffe & Z. Byron Wolf