First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

As expected, today's Senate vote for cloture on Wall Street reform failed, 58-42. As expected, Republicans stuck together as the Party of No. The real surprise is that conservative Senator Ben Nelson (DINO-NE) broke ranks to vote against cloture.

Wall Street reform isn't dead. Dodd and Shelby will probably hammer out a bill later this week or next and we'll try again. As such, I could care less about this legislative delay; my focus (this week) is not on Wall Street, but on Nelson. It's a darned shame he probably won't run for re-election, because I would love to do everything I can to defeat him. And post-Lieberman, it's not like we can count on Reid to strip him of subcommittee chairs for his behavior over this, climate legislation, and the public option.

The only thing we can do is pass filibuster reform when the Senate rules change in January. Wall Street reform... immigration reform... energy reform... health care reform... reform is the change we can believe in, but it seems more and more to be impossible without filibuster reform.

Here's Anne Lowery's take on Nelson's vote.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has voted no on the cloture motion to start debate on Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) financial regulatory reform bill — meaning the motion will likely fail, 58 to 42, short of the 60 votes needed. Republicans will tout this as an extraordinary victory demonstrating bipartisan opposition to moving forward on financial regulation until the bill is tried, tested and sorted. But my guess is that Nelson knew the motion would not pass, having failed to garner Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) vote earlier today, and decided not to vote for it at that point.

Regardless, the optics are terrible. Nelson’s “Cornhusker kickback” delayed health care reform. Today, news broke that Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway and a resident of Omaha, lobbied for the Senate Agriculture Committee, on which Nelson sits, to create a derivatives loophole that would benefit his company to the tune of billions, a proposal Senate Democrats swatted down. And now, Nelson is holding up progress on the financial front again.

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Comments

20 Comments

The problem now

is that the bill is going to have to be weakened to get the extra votes, which will send Arianna Huffington (and certainly Jerome) into a tizzy.

Although this pretty much kills once and for all the arm twisting theory. Looks like Reid and the President told Nelson to go screw himself and he still voted against them. Can we stop believing that Democratic senators will just do whatever their leadership tells them.

Furthermore, I'd love to hear BuckeyeBlogger on this. Has Fox given him his talking points yet?

by ND22 2010-04-26 06:47PM | 0 recs
Heads I win, Tails you lose

Politically, there is no short-term downside to this failed cloture attempt.

The Republicans have no exit strategy here. Reid has changed his vote to 'no', and the WH and Democrats would be ecstatic for this debate to go on endlessly, even to get nothing in the end, as long as it keeps painting Republicans as obstructionists on the side of Wall Street.

The best thing the GOP can hope for is some modicum of concession, and they aren't in much of a bargaining position. The WH and Democratic Leadership has been abundantly clear that they aren't willing to bargain away real reform.

As for the arm twisting theory, it's no mystery why the anti-Obama left and the teabagging right have both been so silent on this issue: Obama isn't visibly involved.

The GOP succesfully made HCR about Obama. It will be his Waterloo, right? And that galvanized support and (more importantly) opposition.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-04-26 07:28PM | 1 recs
They have the media on their side

I agree with Marc Ambinder...the longer the debate goes on, the easier it gets for the GOP and their pawns in the media to demonize this and there ain't nothing the Democrats can do about that. The media decides the narrative.

by ND22 2010-04-26 08:41PM | 0 recs
RE: They have the media on their side

How exactly are they going to demonize it? All the dems have to do is make sure no special back-room deals and for the reform to get tougher. If it doesn't pass because of the GOP, then so be it. The only people cheering will be Wall Street. 

by vecky 2010-04-26 09:49PM | 0 recs
Lie

That's what they're good at, lying.

They'll just say Dodd's bill bails out banks and theirs doesn't. Americans are too stupid to know better and the media will just propagate that message over and over again.

by ND22 2010-04-26 10:02PM | 0 recs
RE: Lie

They can lie all they want, it won't make the slightest bit of difference. And they don't have a bill of their own. Democrats will be happy dragging this out to Nov and beyond.

As for the media - they are a lost cause anyway. They matter not.

by vecky 2010-04-26 11:11PM | 0 recs
The media

is a primary cause for the turn in HCR numbers.

by ND22 2010-04-27 12:50AM | 0 recs
Is this time like last time?

Yes, with HCR, the GOP ran out the clock on an impatient and skeptical American public. But I don't believe the same strategy will succeed again.

The GOP has failed to connect financial reform to Obama, and thus they lack Obama as the polarizing wedge on the issue necessary to fuel public opposition. Where are the tea parties and town halls? Likewise, the GOP is entering this debate against a much stronger public support headwind. While the public was always skeptical about HCR, the public presently strongly supports financial reform. Finally, Democrats and the Administration seem to be aware of all of this, and are swatting down the lies as soon as they start. Contrast this to last summer when we saw the narrative on HCR slip away. So while they are using the same strategy, the environment is completely different. Will it work a second time? I think no.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-04-26 10:26PM | 0 recs
I think it will unfortunately

your thesis relies on the idea that the people will continue to see Democratic attempts as wholehearted attempts to reform the system and Republicans are obstructionists. I don't believe that will be the case. I believe, and i'm basing this on the fact that I still work in the media and see the narrative that's beginning to develop, that the media will spin it the other way. that's why the Republicans are proposing their own bill.

by ND22 2010-04-26 10:34PM | 1 recs
A Bill Wall Street Could Love

Yes, writing their own Bill is the only strategy they have left at this time that doesn't involve caving. The problem is with what is in it.

Remember, to their base, they have to put up a fight and say they got something. I think people are expecting this to pass and this is all politcal brinksmanship.Harry Reid can call up a series of nasty votes to make the GOP go on record as opposing reform.

I understand your fear. The MSM, which caters to caucasians who are predominantly republican, will try to find the conservative angle on this or at least remain overly objective when the situation calls for subjectivity. As of now, I had to wade through the Matt "the degenerate" Drudge's wedbsite to find any breathless spinning. But Drudge disease is contagious. We'll see...

by NoFortunateSon 2010-04-26 11:04PM | 0 recs
RE: The problem now

"Although this pretty much kills once and for all the arm twisting theory."

 

In what ways did they twist arms on this?

by jeopardy 2010-04-27 10:21PM | 0 recs
By opposing the Nelson deal

and then daring him to vote against his party. And he did...three times. 

by ND22 2010-04-28 01:35PM | 0 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

Its a shame because when Dodd and Shelby were on Meet The Press this Sunday, they both seemed pretty confident that they would craft something soon to receive bipartisan support (not that they won't still).  I was actually somewhat optimistic (silly me) that we wouldn't see a filibuster roadblock.

What is Ben Nelson expecting to get? A bailout for corn in exchange for a vote? Come on....

God help us if wall street reform takes as long as HCR.  That is the one thing that Republicans have down to a science, whenever one decides to be stubborn or uncooperative the rest follow suit.   "Democrats" like Nelson try to be the rebellious ones and break from their party ranks instead of blinding following the leader.

by Chuckie Corra 2010-04-26 07:44PM | 0 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

But Shelby also said this vote would fail. I haven't watched MTP yet, but all coverage of the interview I read basically said they'd have a compromise this week but not in time for today's vote.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-26 10:13PM | 0 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

All I heard was the same story as with Health Care - "We're almost there!"  "We agree on 95%!" "Don't bring it up for debate just yet!" "Just a few more days!" Stall Stall Stalll...

by vecky 2010-04-26 11:22PM | 1 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

They toyed around with the idea, like vecky said.  

 

by Chuckie Corra 2010-04-26 11:59PM | 0 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

The argument they make is particularly disingenuous. Afteral if you're genuinely close to an agreement and negotiating in good faith in favor of the legislation, why filibuster? Why kill it? Let the process and debate move ahead. 

by vecky 2010-04-27 12:50AM | 0 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

I guess because letting the debate process move forward would look like the body was actually functioning the way its supposed to, and god forbid that ever happen

by Chuckie Corra 2010-04-27 01:07AM | 0 recs
RE: First Cloture Attempt for Wall Street Reform Fails; Ben Nelson Votes With Party Of No

On the day the Republicans voted agianst the 401K plans of American workers, we should stop focusing on 1 dem seneator. 

by gil44 2010-04-26 08:01PM | 1 recs
The case for individual donation

I have stopped donating to the DNC because they funnel money to people like Ben Nelson. It is to our benefit that we donate to individual candidates and Act Blue. Let us see how the DNC handles Nelson, because I sure as hell don't want my money to go to people like him.

by tarheel74 2010-04-26 08:15PM | 2 recs

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