It didn't take sexy Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown long to become Washington's Greatest Corporate Whore, did it? After Democrats inserted loopholes specifically to secure his vote, Brown has decided to vote no on the financial reform bill, threatening its passage.
The conference committee that meshed together the House and Senate bills last week worked its ass off just to keep Scott Brown's yes vote from the first Senate bill. While many congressmen and senators wanted a full "Volcker Rule" to ban big banks from proprietary trading, the conference committee changed the provision to allow them to invest up to 3% of their capital in private equity and hedge funds — just to get Scott Brown's vote. Because that's what he wanted! Money for big banks to screw around with.
Well, they just got played! Because Scott Brown, in a letter to Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, officially declared that he cannot vote for this bill. His reason is that the conference committee added a $19 billion tax on large banks and hedge funds to offset the estimated costs of the bill. Scott Brown wants it to be paid for with spending cuts! Because why tax large banks and hedge funds a small amount over the years to pay for their watered-down regulatory bill that forces them to not really change anything when you can just stop funding unemployment benefits and health care and education and other things that average Americans, who didn't destroy the American economy, use to survive?
Now, with Brown switching, and Russ Feingold still opposing the bill from the left, and Robert Byrd dead, the leadership will need the votes of leaning Democrat Maria Cantwell and the three other Republicans who voted yes the first time around — Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe — in order to break a Senate filibuster. And the bill, as it stands, is unamendable.
You'd have to think that at this late stage the leadership will find its votes. But wouldn't that be "funny" if the Worst Financial Collapse in History occurred and literally no law of any kind (attempting) to repair this came afterward?
[Image via AP]