Reid to Push Forward on Financial Overhaul

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday afternoon that he would invoke cloture for the financial-regulation bill. The Senate will move forward on the bill Monday. 

Reid's decision is a sign of how confident the Democrats are that the politics of financial-regulation reform are in their favor. He's daring Mitch McConnell to try to "whip" his GOP caucus. With Chuck Grassley already on record supporting the bill, the Democrats have the 60 votes they need to break any filibuster (Grassley can't easily reverse himself now on a bill that is popular in Iowa). But Reid is betting that it won't get that far—that McConnell was bluffing and won't dare whip the caucus to vote against cloture (the procedural way to indicate a filibuster by refusing to shut off debate). So the likely outcome is that a certain number if Republicans will vote against cloture on principle but not enough to stop a floor vote on the bill.

This was also smart of Reid because the longer the negotiations went on with the GOP, the weaker the bill would have become. Unlike health-care reform, where the Republicans were all opposed, this bill was in danger of being watered down by Republicans who were, well, carrying water for the banks. The bill is already weak tea, but at least now it won't get any weaker.