Cantwell bucks Democrats on financial reform vote

By:  Kyung M. Song
Source: The Seattle Times

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Maria Cantwell on Wednesday once again defied her party on a procedural vote relating to financial reforms, blocking an attempt by Democrats to forge ahead with the Wall Street reform bill.

Cantwell joined Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin as the only Democrats to vote against cutting off debate on the legislation. That could thwart Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hopes of shepherding the bill into passage this week.

Cantwell was protesting because she couldn't get her colleagues to commit to voting on two of her amendments to the reform bill. One, which she sponsored with Republican Sen. John McCain, would resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act to ban financial firms from operating both commercial and investment banking.

Cantwell also sought to tighten sanctions for use of derivatives that aren't traded through central clearing to minimize their risks. Cantwell has persistently favored tougher regulation on financial firms than many of her fellow Democrats.

Cantwell and Feingold's votes on Wednesday left Reid three votes shy of the 60 that he needed to overcome Republican filibuster on the reform bill.

In January, Cantwell was one of 11 Democrats to vote against giving a second term to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for what she said was insufficient regulatory zeal. The Senate confirmed Bernanke with a 70-30 vote.