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Financial Reform Votes Delayed Until Next Week

After a three-day scramble to bring financial regulatory reform to the Senate floor, the chamber is not expected to start voting on amendments until early next week, giving both sides ample time to regroup.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will seek to unify his caucus on language regulating derivatives by offering the first amendment.

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) authored differing provisions on the issue, and while détente was reached, details must still be ironed out.

Friday and Monday are scheduled as “no vote” days, likely making Tuesday the first day that the Senate will vote on an amendment.

While Democrats largely stood together during the three-day procedural standoff over whether to call up the reform bill, issues within the caucus remain over language on derivatives and what industries might fall under the consumer protection division that would be created by the bill.

Because the Senate moved to the bill under a unanimous consent agreement rather than a roll call vote, it remains unclear how much support the bill has to pass on the floor. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined Republicans in voting against three different procedural motions this week to move to the bill, and the moderate has maintained he has problems with the measure.

Democrats are hoping to pick up a handful of GOP moderates, including Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Scott Brown (Mass.), to push them over the 60-vote threshold that they’ll likely need for final passage.

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