Wall Street reform cleared its latest hurdle today, passing what might be its biggest test: getting 60 votes in the Senate.
The reform bill passed on a 60-40 vote, with one Republican voting "yea." Who? You guessed it: Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who took Democrats' supermajority away when he defeated Martha Coakley.
Brown reportedly had an intense talk with Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Senate floor yesterday, when he voted "no" on the same procedural measure. Later, Reid said at a news conference that a senator "broke his word to me," and Brown reportedly confirmed
that Reid was referring to him.
But now, thanks to Brown, the 60-vote hurdle has been cleared.
What's next: a final, up-or-down vote on the financial reform bill, which is almost certain to pass (only 50 votes will be needed), then a conference committee to merge the Senate bill with the House's more aggressive package, which the lower chamber passed in December. Then each chamber will vote again on the final version.
Brown apparently received some pressure from Organizing for America activists leading up to this vote. According to an OFA official, members placed 922 calls to Brown's office in the two hours before the Senate voted this afternoon.