Republicans (and Ben Nelson) Block Debate of Financial Reform Bill

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Nelson. Photo: Massoud Hossaini/AFP

The Senate voted this afternoon to prevent the start of a formal debate of financial reform legislation, coming up three votes short of the required 60-vote threshold needed for debate to begin. Democratic Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson joined Republicans in voting against the start of a debate; once the outcome was clear, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted against it, which allows him to reintroduce the measure at a later point.

Of course, this whole thing is a bit silly since, as the Washington Post puts it, “lawmakers in both parties have said they expect [the bill] will ultimately be debated — and passed — in the coming weeks.” And there are also indications that a few Republicans will end up voting for some form of the far-reaching Democratic bill, which aims to strengthen oversight of Wall Street, the Post says. Barack Obama was so disheartened by news of the vote, he posted a somewhat emo tweet: “I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans voted in a block today against allowing a public debate on Wall Street reform to begin.”

Financial overhaul falls short in procedural vote [WP]