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Sen. Collins Pledges Filibuster on Dodd Financial Reg Bill

9:43 AM, Apr 20, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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When did all these reasonable, Northeastern Republicans get so radical?

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced after meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday that she will vote to filibuster a Democratic Wall Street reform bill.

Her announcement hurts Democratic chances of moving financial reform legislation through the Senate this week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that he planned to bring the legislation to the floor this week, but Collins’s stance means that Democrats will likely not have the 60 votes needed to begin floor debate.

Collins opposes the formation of a $50 billion fund for winding down financial institutions threatening the system, saying it would pose a "moral hazard." Geithner told her the administration doesn't support that provision, added by Dodd. Collins pushed for a couple more weeks of negotiations to come up with something that can get GOP votes.

Though Collins' opposition to this version of a financial regulation bill certainly makes it harder to paint GOP opposition as pro-Wall St., anti-Obama peevishness, but as Matt Continetti pointed out, there is political danger in this dance:

Memo to Republicans: you are about to step into a political trap! The GOP has focused so much on the downsides of the Dodd proposal, it hasn't made it clear that it supports sensible reforms to correct the imbalances that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Nor have the Senate Repubilcans forcefully outlined detailed proposals of their own. (The House Republican alternative is here. John McCain's proposal to reinstate something like Glass-Steagall is here.)

Now, maybe the Senate Republicans don't support reform at all. Maybe they just want to deny Obama a victory and wait until they have more power in the next Congress. That would be a shame, because tacitly backing Wall Street on this issue erodes the GOP brand as the People's Party. Also, it completely misjudges where the Republicans get their support.

The DNC released a TV ad today, which relies upon the picture of GOP big-bank abettors. It's pretty tired in relying on a McCain's "fundamentals of the economy" soundbite from September 2008, but the attack is one to be mindful of.

The 30-second ad, titled "For Years," will run on national cable for two weeks, according to a DNC spokesman.

"For years, Republicans stood by while Wall Street ran wild," a narrator says in the ad. "Risky bets. Lax regulation. When the economy collapsed, Republicans looked the other way."

Video is here.

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