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Snowe Will Support Wall Street Bill

Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Monday that she will vote for a financial regulatory overhaul, clearing the way for Senate approval of the measure before week’s end.

The Maine Republican, who joined Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) in breaking GOP ranks Monday, gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster.

Citing the need to “avoid another financial catastrophe,” Snowe formally announced her support in a statement released Monday evening.

“To ensure we avoid another financial catastrophe such as the one that plunged our nation into the worst recession since the Great Depression, it is imperative that we implement an aggressive overhaul of the American financial regulatory system,” she said.

“After thoroughly reviewing the 2,315-page financial regulatory reform conference bill during the July 4 work period, I intend to support passage of the legislation when it’s brought before the Senate for consideration,” she added.

Snowe’s announcement came less than an hour after she had indicated to reporters that she would not decide Monday whether to support the bill. “I’m not ready to tell you yet. … I will be shortly,” she said before a 5:30 p.m. vote on the nomination of Sharon Coleman to serve as a district judge in northern Illinois.

It is unclear whether Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who had been pressing Snowe to back the bill for weeks, conducted any last-minute lobbying during the vote. But Snowe’s statement did acknowledge her colleague’s efforts during the conference proceedings to address her concerns.

“I appreciate Chairman Dodd’s efforts during the conference process to successfully preserve the numerous amendments I had included in the initial bill,” she said.

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