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Brown Still Holding Out on Wall Street Overhaul

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) continues to refuse to endorse a newly negotiated Wall Street reform bill, despite Democratic attempts Tuesday to fix the measure to his liking.

In a statement Wednesday, Brown said he does “appreciate the conference committee revisiting the Wall Street reform bill” and removing a $19 billion tax on banks and hedge funds. Though House and Senate conferees had announced a deal last week, opposition from Brown — as well as Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — to the bank tax forced them back to the negotiating table Tuesday evening.

But Brown quashed any hopes that Senate Democratic leaders may have had about voting on the conference report before leaving for the July Fourth recess.

“Over the July recess, I will continue to review this important bill. I remain committed to putting in place safeguards to prevent another financial meltdown, ensure that consumers are protected, and that this bill is paid for without new taxes.”

House Democratic leaders have been pushing to have a vote this week on the bicameral compromise. It was unclear whether the uncertainty over Brown’s vote, as well as the votes of Snowe and Collins, would cause the House to delay passage. Brown, Snowe and Collins joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in voting for the original Senate version of the financial reform measure.

Even with all three of those Republican votes, Senate Democrats would still be one vote short of the 60 needed to beat back a near-certain GOP filibuster, because of the Monday death of 92-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

If Senate Democratic leaders cannot secure the vote of at least one opponent of the bill — such as Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) — they may have to wait until after West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) appoints Byrd’s replacement to hold the vote.

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