To hear Reuters tell it, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Wall Street reform bill will be passed into law. The only question at this point, according to them, is whether amendments to the Senate bill will require 50 votes or 60 votes to pass:
Democratic leaders had not yet determined as of late Monday whether amendments will need 50 or 60 votes to pass. The difference is important because Democrats control 59 votes in the 100-member chamber, versus the Republicans’ 41 votes.
A 60-vote rule would make winning passage for any amendment — and there are more than 100 circulating — more difficult, while a 50-vote rule would open the way to all sorts of proposals from both Democrats and Republicans.
A spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that no decision had been reached and that votes would be handled on a case-by-case basis for the time being.
“This is an issue for leadership to decide. … A higher threshold will bring more order to the chaos of the amendment process,” said Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Concept Capital.
When the process is over, likely in two to four weeks, final passage of the bill looks likely, given a surge in political momentum for it from the Goldman Sachs fraud case and the approach of November’s elections, analysts said.
In my opinion, it’s foolhardy to make such predictions given that Senate Republicans are involved, and given their recent track record.
I’d put my money on many unexpected twists and turns before any kind of happy ending. Said twists and turns to include petty obstructionism of the most infantile variety. And maybe the bill will pass in the end, but I’d be surprised if its legislative progress doesn’t involve at least a couple of crises, during which passage looks anything but assured.