Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ben Nelson, Senate Republicans block debate on American Financial Stability Act

Surprising no one, Senate Republicans — along with wannabe Republican Ben Nelson — voted today to block debate on the American Financial Stability Act of 2010, prime sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

The final vote was 57-41, with two Republican senators not voting.

(Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid voted with the Republican minority after it became clear which way the vote would go; he did this as a strategic maneuver, so he can bring the bill back up for another vote).

As readers know, it takes sixty votes to pass a cloture motion and break a procedural filibuster. Republicans have been using Senate rules to obstruct the progress of all the Obama administration's legislative priorities.

S. 3217 is just the latest victim of Republican obstructionism.

Every Democratic senator from the Pacific Northwest cast an "aye" vote on the cloture motion for S. 3217, while every Republican cast a "nay" vote.

"I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin," President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the White House not long after the vote.

"Some of these Senators may believe that this obstruction is a good political strategy, and others may see delay as an opportunity to take this debate behind closed doors, where financial industry lobbyists can water down reform or kill it altogether. But the American people can’t afford that," the President declared.

"Instead of voting to allow the bill to be debated in public view, they [Republicans plus Ben Nelson] want more backroom negotiations and delay as they try to kill Wall Street reform," Senator Jeff Merkley concurred in a press release.

"It is nothing short of remarkable that after everything our country has been through in the last two years, Senators continue to defend the anything-goes ideology that puts the foxes in charge of the henhouse."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters today he thinks Republicans will eventually buckle and stop obstructing the bill's progress.

I seem to recall him saying something like that about healthcare reform before it got completely bogged down. It's never a good idea to assume that Republicans are going to act in the best interests of the country.

Tremendous pressure will have to be brought to bear on Republicans if the administration wants to fracture McConnell's caucus, which has been well disciplined to date, to the detriment of the country's well-being.


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