A strange result today in the House Financial Services Committee.
Today, the committee passed their bill on financial regulatory reform, which was mostly completed before the Thanksgiving break. At that time, the Congressional Black Caucus asked for a delay on the vote, to try and gain leverage over passing some package to relieve the massive unemployment in their communities. It was thought that CBC members would back the bill, but in the end, they boycotted the vote, which squeaked by without them:
The House Financial Services Committee passed a major bill to regulate risk in the financial industry as Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members remained absent from the vote.
The panel voted in favor of the bill, 31-27, with CBC members absent. CBC members have raised concerns that the administration is not doing enough to help the African-American community weather the bleak economy.
This raises a number of questions:
• If the Committee had the votes to pass the bill without the CBC, why did they delay it at the time?
• Does this mean that the Administration is cold to any help for underserved communities? House Financial Services Committee spokesmen have been adamant that the CBC/White House fight had nothing to do with the base bill and everything to do about jobs. Does the continued boycott mean that their concerns have not yet been answered?
• Does this have anything to do with Mel Watt’s attempt to blow up the “audit the Fed” bill, which lost a couple weeks back? Everyone claims no, but if the CBC uses this jobs leverage to kill the bill, it will be interesting to see what results or if the bill is changed.
• Per The Hill, Rahm Emanuel was spotted leaving the committee room. Did he strong-arm remaining Democrats to ensure passage, and what did he promise?
• Does this imperil the bill on the floor? There are enough CBC members (41) to kill the regulatory bill, or at least delay it, if they hold together. Would they do that?
I’m going to be digging for some answers.
Ryan Grim has more.
UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi, in a statement praising the passage of financial reform, says that the bill will come up for a vote next week, so I guess she’s not concerned about the CBC blocking the bill on the floor.