Yesterday the Senate passed what is being touted as “the most comprehensive regulation of the financial industry since the Great Depression.” Next up: Conference committee. It may not be long before there’s a bill President Obama can sign into law.
Republicans are still trying to get auto dealers excluded from the bill’s consumer protection provisions. I can’t think of any reason why Republicans would do this except that they’re being paid under the table to do it.
This morning the credit card industry is howling about an amendment introduced by Senator Durbin that was tacked onto the Senate bill at the last minute. I take it the amendment limits the fees Visa, Mastercard et al. charge merchants for debit card transactions, but so far most of the information I’m getting is from press releases being put out by Visa, Mastercard et al. So it’s a little murky. Another amendment introduced by Sen. Whitehouse of Rhode Island that would have allowed states to cap consumer credit card fees failed, however.
To me, the most interesting political story coming out of yesterday’s vote is that Scott Brown, the new Republican senator from Massachusetts, provided the 60th vote to cut off debate on the measure and also voted with the Dems to pass the bill. Already Brown has gone from being the fair-haired child to being persona non grata on the Right.
Last January some leftie bloggers analyzed Brown’s record as “liberal Republican,” meaning he’s progressive on some issues and conservative on others. Brown is “more liberal than Olympia Snowe,” said one.
Rightie bloggers hooted at this at the time. Today Little Lulu’s first commenter said, “Hmm, a Republican whoâ€™s even more liberal than Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins. Stranger species keep getting discovered.” Maybe the Rockefeller Republican isn’t extinct after all. But whatever Brown is, it appears he’s not stupid enough to think he can rack up a far-right record and win re-election in Massachusetts.