President Obama’s push for a major overhaul of the nation’s banking regulatory structure picked up a key vote Monday when Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown announced he would vote for the bill.
The vacancy left last last month by the death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, left Senate Democrats scrambling to pick up the 60 votes needed to break an expected filibuster of the bill. The House has already passed the compromise version adopted by the two chambers that would, among other provisions, create a new consumer financial regulatory office, establish new controls on the massive derivatives market, and place new restrictions on the types of non-banking business lines that commercial banks can engage in.
Mr. Brown, the third Senate Republican to say he would vote to kill the filibuster, had expressed doubts as House and Senate conferees worked through key provisions of the bill. But the Massachusetts lawmaker said the revised measure “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,” he said in a statement. “It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes.”
Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats, who had orginally hoped to have the bill to the president’s desk by July 4, still have not nailed down all the votes needed for Senate passage. A replacement for Mr. Byrd — expected to be another Democrat who would vote for the bill — has not been named by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat.