Democrats in Washington might want to nudge West Virginia governor Joe Manchin to name a replacement for Sen. Robert Byrd already.
The good news for Dems is that tonight, in a statement to reporters, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) hopped aboard the Wall Street reform train. “I intend to support passage of the legislation when its brought before the Senate,” she said. That would make 60 votes — enough to overcome a filibuster — but now a Democrat is hanging out in the undecided camp, preventing the package from coming to the cloor
The bad news: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) explicitly told reporters this evening he’s not committed to voting for the legislation, citing a handful of measures, and concern about potential future directors of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“You don’t know who’s going to be head of the consumer protection bureau,” Nelson said after a vote. “You can’t just send a rogue agency out on its own.”
The suggestion is that Nelson wants input behind the scenes on who the White House might nominate to run the new agency.
Between the death of Robert Byrd, and the opposition of Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrats had been down to 57 votes for the bill within their own party. But by winning votes from Republicans Snowe, Scott Brown, and Susan Collins, they would have been at 60. Nelson once again leaves them a vote shy. If he remains undecided for more than a few days, Dems will have to wait on Manchin, who said he’s likely to appoint a new senator by the beginning of next week.
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 email@example.com.