The death of West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd this morning has left it unclear when, or perhaps if, the current financial regulatory reform package passes from Capitol Hill this week.
A conference committee negotiated the differences between the two bills and passed the final version last week. Had Byrd not died, the measure was scheduled for its final up or down vote in both chambers this week and there was confidence that it would pass.
"I have to believe the conference committee would not have voted out their bill if they didn't feel confident that they had the votes to pass last week," said CUNA vice president for legislative affairs, Ryan Donovan. Donovan acknowledged, however, that Byrd's passing left timing and passage of the bill up in the air.
A lot hinges on what Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown might do. Brown voted for the version of the bill that passed the Senate, but has signaled he might vote against the final version of the measure because it contains a $19 billion tax on banks that the previous version had not.If Brown votes against and without a replacement for Byrd, the measure would lack the 60 votes it would need to close debate and move to a final vote.