UPDATE – 7:20 P.M. – Sen. Olympia Snowe, Maine Republican, announced late Monday she will support the financial regulation bill, in what appears to guarantee passage of the measure into law.
“After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it’s brought before the Senate for consideration,” Snowe said in a statement. “While not perfect, the legislation takes necessary steps to implement meaningful regulatory reforms, create strong consumer protections, and restore confidence in the American financial system.”
Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown said Monday he will support the financial regulation bill currently under consideration in the Senate, greatly increasing the chance that Democrats will be able to pass the legislation into law.
“I’ve spent the past week reviewing the Wall Street reform bill. I appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, especially the removal of the $19 billion bank tax. As a result, it is a better bill than it was when this whole process started. While it isn’t perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote,” Brown said in a statement.
Brown, who has walked a fine line in trying to remain independent while not alienating the conservative grassroots that helped him get elected in January, said the bill “includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes.”
He said that “further reforms are still needed to address the government’s role in the financial crisis, including significant changes to the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has a 58-seat majority, and Democrat Sen. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin opposes the bill, saying it will not prevent future bailouts.
So Reid needs three Republicans to vote for the bill. Brown’s support gives him two, after Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, said on June 30 that she will vote for it.
Reid will need to get either Sen. Olympia Snowe, Maine Republican, or Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, to vote for the bill to get it passed over a Republican filibuster. Neither Snowe or Grassley have yet made up their mind.