This vote was on whether to allow to go forward a measure that aims to close gaps in financial regulations, strengthen oversight of consumer lending and more closely oversee complex financial investments.
President Obama has made this Wall Street overhaul one of his top priorities. Democrats say the bill would help prevent the kinds of activities that contributed to the 2008 financial collapse, but Republicans argue that in fact the bill would just open the door to more financial malfeasance.
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., tried to defeat the measure with a parliamentary maneuver, saying it violated the Senate’s budget rules against increasing deficit spending. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., then made a motion that the rules be waived in this case, which is what this vote was on.
“The total public debt stands at over $13 trillion, with fiscal year 2009’s $1.4 trillion deficit having contributed significantly to our Nation’s credit card bill. With unsustainable levels like this, the Senate must knowingly, consciously, and with full awareness decide each time a bill comes to the floor to increase our debt burden further,” Sessions said, noting that the bill would increase net spending by $21 billion.
Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said it should “not come as any great surprise” that it costs money for a “major restructuring of our financial structures.”
By a vote of 60-39, the motion to waive the rules was adopted. All but one Democrat present voted to waive the rules. All but three Republicans present voted against waiving the rules. The end result is that the rules were waived, the parliamentary maneuver failed, and lawmakers proceeded to a vote on inal passage of a financial overhaul bill. (Though cloture on the measure had already been invoked, see vote 160, technically there are still 30 hours of “postcloture” debate time during which motions may be made.)