Adding to the likelihood of final passage, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) late yesterday said she would support the regulatory overhaul currently pending in the Senate.
Snowe, who successfully sponsored an amendment backed by credit unions to ease some of the statistical reporting requirements for credit unions and banks, said the bill will implement changes that will make another financial collapse less likely.
"While not perfect, the legislation takes necessary steps to implement meaningful regulatory reforms, create strong consumer protections, and restore confidence in the American financial system," she said in a statement.
Snowe is the third Republican to back the bill, following Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
Of the 58 Senate Democrats, all but two have indicated they will support the measure. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) has said he opposes it because it is not tough enough on Wall Street and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) hasn't announced his intentions but has indicated concerns about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If Nelson opposes the bill, the Democrats-even with the support of Browne, Collins and Snowe, will be one vote short of the 60 votes needed to break a GOP-led filibuster. If no other Republican supports the bill, the Democrats will wait until next week when West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) appoints someone to replace Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who died last month.
CUNA and NAFCU are opposing the bill, mostly because of the provisions giving the Federal Reserve the power to regulate interchange fees.