Well, that does it. Voting is happening right now on an amendment from Chuck Grassley and Claire McCaskill (on Inspectors General, I believe), and Chris Dodd said there were several others which he’d like to see get a vote tonight. “I’d like to keep working,” he said. But Harry Reid came in and said “We’ll have to see” if we have more votes tonight, and that it would be “difficult” to have more. He announced that a cloture vote would take place at 10 or 11am ET tomorrow.
There’s still the matter of the manager’s amendment. Dodd mentioned 49 amendments that could be folded into a manager’s amendment if they get cleared by Richard Shelby the Republicans (yes, the manager’s amendment has to get cleared by the Republicans for some reason). The big kahuna in the manager’s amendment will be the weakening of the derivatives piece for the benefit of the big banks.
Three minutes before the noon deadline for amendments, Dodd filed a proposal addressing language in the bill that would force the nation’s largest banks to stop trading nearly all kinds of derivatives — a move that would dramatically reshape several critical markets and deprive the firms of a major source of revenue.
Under the compromise, the Senate would keep the sweeping provision, but delay its implementation for two years while it’s studied and quite likely kill it at the end.
The amendment puts that study in the hands of organizations already on the record against the spin-off of the trading desks – the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
I knew that the cynical plan was to let Lincoln get the glory on putting together a tough derivatives bill for the benefit of her re-election. I didn’t know that the leadership would then gut it ON THE ELECTION NIGHT. Man, I’m dying for a run-off now to expose this for the next three weeks and basically turn her as toxic as Ben Nelson after his backroom deal.
So while the political world has been preoccupied with elections, the Merkley-Levin amendment giving teeth to the Volcker rule was blocked, the Dorgan amendment banning naked CDS was tabled, the derivatives piece from Lincoln was gutted, state consumer protection laws were partially pre-empted, and what remains is a bill that’s on net not a whole lot different from the mediocre bill which passed the House.
Funny how this all happened under cover of the elections, ain’t it?
By the way, I’m not convinced Reid has the votes for cloture at all, from the left or the right. Levin threatened to withhold cloture in his presser. Cantwell has threatened to oppose cloture without her Glass-Steagall reinstating amendment. Dorgan’s amendment lost on the Senate floor, and he’s basically down on the whole bill as fairly meaningless. Feingold has said in the past he would withhold cloture if the bill didn’t get better in very specific ways, virtually none of which have happened.
Tell me how they have the votes for cloture, again?
UPDATE: Tom Harkin is pissed off. He has had an amendment filed since the bill has been brought to a floor, and hasn’t sniffed a vote. “What kind of games are being played around here?” he bellowed. “I’m going to put in a quorum call and we won’t call it off!” Liberal Senators are extremely unhappy at the state of affairs.
UPDATE II: So Ron Wyden tried to call up his secret hold amendment, and Shelby objected on behalf of Jim DeMint. Then Merkley tried to call up Merkley-Levin again, and Shelby objected. Merkley asked “on whose behalf did you object,” and Shelby says, “on behalf of myself and a lot of other fellas.”
Like bank CEOs.
… Merkley just asked: “Why is Wall Street winning and Main Street losing tonight in the US Senate?” Um, because nobody’s paying attention?
UPDATE III: Jack Reed just announced that the “substitute amendment,” also known as the manager’s amendment, would get a vote at 2pm ET tomorrow. There is a chance for second-degree amendments to that manager’s amendment, and I suspect that some disappointed Senate liberals will do that. But like the Dorgan amendment, the Senate could table the second-degree amendments. Alternatively, Harry Reid could “fill the amendment tree” to disallow second-degree amendments, but I doubt that happens.
So this is all ending tomorrow, is the point.
UPDATE IV: Carl Levin is thundering on the floor of the Senate right now, vowing to take at least one more run at getting his Merkley-Levin amendment considered… “and maybe more.” But he is somewhat resigned that Wall Street will “thwart this chamber’s majority view” that the Merkley-Levin amendment be voted on. He says we’ll know by noon or 1:00 tomorrow.