WASHINGTON BUREAU — Members of the Senate have voted 59-39 to pass the financial services bill formerly known as S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act.
The bill, now known as H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — the same name and bill number given to the financial services bill that the House passed in December 2009 — needed to attract a majority of the votes cast to pass.
HOW THE SENATE VERSION OF H.R. 4173 PASSED
The Republicans who ended up voting for the bill were Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Sus an Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine.
The Democrats who voted against the bill were Maria Cantwell of Washington and Russell Feingold of Wisconsin. Cantwell and Feingold say the final version of the bill would do too little to prevent the kind of financial crisis that hit the world in September 2008.
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., did not vote on final passage.
Earlier in the day, H.R. 4173 backers had to hold a vote on a cloture motion, or effort to avert a filibuster by putting a limit on debate. Bill supporters needed 60 votes to pass the cloture motion, and the vote on that motion was exactly 60-40.
During an earlier cloture motion vote, held Wednesday, the cloture motion failed 57-41. Senate Majority Harry Reid, R-Nev., voted against the bill for parliamentary reasons, to have the standing to ask for the vote to be reconsidered. Specter was absent, and Brown voted against cloture.
Specter and Brown today voted for cloture.
H.R. 4173: THE NEXT STEP
Immediately after the vote, members of the Senate agreed to send a message to the House asking for a conference to reconcile the two different versions of the bill.
An insurance industry lobbyist had speculated that the House and Senate might use an informal process to come up with the final version of the bill, but it now appears that there will be a formal reconciliation conference. The Senate will hold at least two roll call votes Monday on motions regarding the instructions that the Senate will give the Senate conferees, according to Senate Democrats.