After all of yesterday’s high drama, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) continues to drag his feet on Wall Street reform legislation.
After Democrats took the extraordinary step of reconvening the financial reform conference committee to make changes he and other moderate Republicans demanded to the bill, Brown’s now saying he won’t announce his final vote until after the Independence Day recess next week.
“I appreciate the conference committee revisiting the Wall Street reform bill and removing the $19 billion bank tax,” Brown says in a new statement this morning. “Over the July recess, I will continue to review this important bill. I remain committed to putting in place safeguards to prevent another financial meltdown, ensure that consumers are protected, and that this bill is paid for without new taxes.”
Much of this is likely posturing. As much as Senate Democrats wanted to pass their Wall Street reform bill by the end of the week, the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) Monday morning made that almost impossible. Byrd will lie in state in the Capitol for most of tomorrow, and senators will spend much of Friday at a ceremony in West Virginia, eating up a great amount of the week’s remaining Senate floor time. As early as yesterday morning, Senate Whip Dick Durbin told reporters it would be difficult to finish up the bill before July 4, and last night after the conference committee adjourned, legislators suggested very strongly that the vote in the Senate would have to wait.
Likewise House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank—Congress’ point man on Wall Street reform—hinted very strongly last night that Brown had given his sign off on the entire package of reforms. The House, Frank said, wouldn’t act unless he’d received assurances that the Senate was certain to pass the same bill, and the House is readying to go today.
So there’s plenty of reason to suspect this is cant from Brown. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying for Democrats.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.