Thursday: Vote on Financial Reform Nears; BP Set to Proceed on Cap Test
The U.S. Senate is planning a final vote Thursday on a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations. At least three Republicans, 55 Democrats and two independents are expected to support the bill, providing the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican procedural hurdles.
Even if the votes come up short and Republicans do filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada will file cloture, requiring two days until an actual vote. It would then likely pass on Saturday.
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein offers several different perspectives on financial regulation here, but concludes:
"[B]y the week's end, financial-regulation reform will join health-care reform, the stimulus, tobacco regulation, Ted Kennedy's Serve America Act, and much more in the 111th Congress's outbox. This has been, by far, the most productive Congress in memory. Whether that's a good or a bad thing will depend on your perspective."
BaselineScenario's Simon Johnson writes:
"Just over a hundred years ago, the United States led the world in terms of rethinking how big business worked -- and when the power of such firms should be constrained. In retrospect, the breakthrough legislation -- not just for the US, but also internationally -- was the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890....The Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill, which is about to pass the US Senate, does something similar -- and long overdue -- for banking."
Meantime, the New York Times reports on a possible need to reform the senators voting on reform:
"The Office of Congressional Ethics has sent corporate donors and fund-raising hosts more than three dozen requests for documents involving eight members who solicited and took large contributions from financial institutions even as they were debating the landmark regulatory bill, according to lawyers involved in the inquiry."
Some fundraisers took place in the days immediately before the House's initial adoption of a financial overhaul.
BP Delays Test Because of Leak
BP engineers have repaired a leak found on a line attached to the new cap on its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico. The problem stalled its effort to shut down the flow of oil permanently.
Kent Wells, a BP vice president, said at a news briefing in Houston that the leak was fixed by replacing the pipe called a "choke line" on the side of capping device, the AP reported.
"I'm expecting that we'll start up" the test "here later this morning, sometime today," Wells said.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports on Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's "Agenda for Revitalizing Coastal Louisiana," which was announced on Wednesday. The plan consists of four initiatives aimed at restoring wetlands and salvaging the coastal economy.
NPR: W.Va. Mine Workers Disabled Safety Device
NPR reports that two months before a massive explosion in early April killed 29 Upper Big Branch mine workers, an electrician deliberately disabled a methane gas monitor on a continuous mining machine because the monitor repeatedly shut down the machine.
NPR's full report is here.