Democrats decry ‘dysfunction’ in filibuster use after financial reform stalls

WASHINGTON – It was a political gambit, trying to bring financial reform legislation to the floor of the Senate without the votes in hand to beat back a filibuster. Win and the bill moves forward. Lose, and gamble that Republicans will wind up looking like jerks in the inevitable he-said-she-said public relations fallout.

Well hello option B.

On a vote of 57-41, Democrats failed to get the necessary 60 votes to bring the bill to the floor — and wasted no time afterward in taking to the floor of the Senate to decry what they called stalling tactics. Both Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted to advance the bill.

“This is not the time to say no, this is the time to get something done,” Klobuchar said after the vote, noting she’d heard the Senate referred to as “Dysfunction Junction” – and that it’s instances like this vote that give that sly rhyme credence.

Franken said in a statement that he’s “disappointed in today’s vote. Minnesotans know it’s past time to hold Wall Street accountable and I’m hopeful we’ll get it done soon.”

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, said Republicans are “united in our desire to protect the taxpayer from those who would put them and our nation’s financial system at risk through recklessness, stupidity, greed, or some combination of the three.

“But as we consider this legislation today, Republicans are also acutely aware of the fact that government solutions to big, complex problems like this one are rarely as effective as they’re made out to be, especially when they’re rushed. And Republicans are conscious of something else this morning too: when it comes to fixing the problems that we see in the economy or in our healthcare system or anywhere else, the days of taking the Democrats’ word for it are over”

This isn’t the end of the road for the bill – negotiations are ongoing between Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Democrat and Republican, respectively, on the Senate Banking Committee. A compromise bill could come as early as the end of the week.

“I believe in the end, we’re going to get this done,” Klobuchar said.

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