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Senate Clears Key Hurdle to Advance Financial Reform

Senate Democrats cleared a key hurdle on financial reform legislation Thursday, voting 60-40 to end debate on the bill and move toward final passage.

Sen. Scott Brown, who voted against Wednesday’s failed cloture measure, switched to a “yes” on Thursday. The Massachusetts Republican’s vote, along with that of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) — who was absent on Wednesday following his primary election loss Tuesday — pushed Democrats over the 60-vote hurdle they needed to end debate. Also voting in favor were GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, who voted in favor on Wednesday’s 57-42 vote as well.

Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold (Wis.) and Maria Cantwell (Wash.) maintained their opposition Thursday. The two voted “no” on Wednesday when Democrats fell two votes shy of reaching cloture.

After the vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate could consider a handful of amendments later Thursday afternoon and said “the best of all worlds” would be to complete the bill by the end of the week.

“We are going to try to do that, but as everyone has heard the last few days, it’s real hard to get that extra little distance we need to get,” Reid said.

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