In a surprising twist, the Senate banking committee voted Chairman Christopher Dodd’s (D-Connecticut) financial reform legislation through committee “mark-up” discussions in just a few minutes without committee hearing of some 400 reported amendments. Now, it’s on to the next step, debate on the Senate floor. The vote was 13-10, along party lines

It was widely expected that the bill, significantly changed from the November version, would reach the Senate floor for debate before Congress’s spring recess starting March 26. But now it’s not expected to reach the Senate floor before Congress reconvenes in mid-April. Negotiations between Republican and Democratic Senators on the committee had broken down just as the new version of the bill was introduced on March 15.

Leaving the amendments to be debated on the Senate floor rather than in mark-up, as is typical, helped make sure that the bill would actually get out of committee to the floor, but whether that makes for a longer and more contentious floor debate is anyone’s guess. As difficult as it usually is to predict what Congress will do, a more polarized Congress makes it nearly impossible impossible to predict an outcome.