MAJOR UPDATE FROM TPM: It appears Sanders has won! Dodd and Sanders have modified the amendment a bit but it still will allow the GAO to audit the FED and do what Sanders and so many want. With Dodd now onboard with Reid it looks verrry likely this one will pass very shortly. If it does its a big win for us all!
This is pretty big. Maj Leader Reid has decided to back the key Brown amendment and the Sanders amendment! He told reporters he plans to make sure both have floor votes and his vote. As the article notes this is big for those wanting real reforms in this bill. Of note Sen Bennet of CO will now vote for the Sanders audit amendment- he was opposed previously and Sen Franken is on board now with the Brown big banks amendment!
Greg Sargent claims liberals are gaining momentum as the WhiteHouse grows nervous. This isn’t the public option here. The public is in a very populist anti bank mood and anything to break them up would be hailed by most Americans. He notes Feingold and Franken are now signed onto the Brown amendment and numbers keep growing. See here:
Clearly momentum is building for some big changes to the bill. Oh and also below is Feingold’s floor statement on how if this bill doesn’t break up the banks etc he wont vote for it and he wont vote to end discussion. With Reid,Durbin and more senators jumping on the bandwagon our odds of passing stronger reform grow by the hour it seems. But we must be vigilant. We have watched so many times progressives fold. But this is an issue where the public is wildly in favor of going after the banks. Too bad the WH is opposing these changes which would help Dem big time in 2010 elections. But clearly it’s the 2010 elections driving I think Reid, Feingold and others to get behind real reform. The people are mad and they don’t want to go to the polls without having done more on this.
Harry Reid will make sure that an amendment to break up megabanks and cap their size comes up for a vote, the Senate majority leader said. He added that he was leaning heavily toward voting for the amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman (D-Del.).
Reid will also support an amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that will authorize an audit of the Federal Reserve, he said.
On Wednesday, Reid was noncommittal when asked by reporters at a briefing about the two major amendments. In an interview in his office with the Huffington Post on Thursday, Reid went further when asked if he'd considered the amendments since the briefing.
"I'll probably vote for it," Reid said. Does that mean it'll come up for a vote?
"Oh, it's going to come up. I'll make sure it comes up," said Reid of the Brown-Kaufman amendment. "Unless my staff convinces me differently. But what I know about it, I'll vote for it."
Reid said he has not been lobbied by the White House to oppose either Brown-Kaufman or the Sanders amendment. "No one's talked to me," he said.
Economists largely agree that the only way to end the bailout of big banks is to reduce banks to a size small enough so that if they fail, they don't bring down the entire system.
"I would say that [of] all the many amendments which will be offered, this is clearly a game changer," said Durbin. "I am supportive of this amendment, even though I know that some of my friends in the banking -- some of my friends in the banking industry won't be happy with that. What they're talking about is dealing with the concentration of wealth and the concentration of economic power to a level which can literally bring the economy down. That's what we went through leading into this recession. That's what led to the massive taxpayer bailout. And that's what the Brown-Kaufman amendment addresses foursquare."
UPDATE: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who had previously voted against a previous iteration of an audit of the Fed, will support the Sanders amendment, his spokesman Adam Bozzi tells HuffPost. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent reports that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) will vote for Kaufman-Brown.
Also In the good news front as this push to reform our system grows, Sen Feingold has taken to the floor demanding the bill include 3 key amendments and if it doesn’t really crack down on the banks he wont vote for it and if its no good he will filibuster. More details:
After saying that regulators have failed taxpayers over the last 30 years, Feingold laid out three specific amendments that would be needed in a final bill:
• The McCain-Cantwell amendment to reinstate Glass-Steagall protections
• The Brown-Kaufman Safe Banking Act to put a strict cap on size and leverage
• The Dorgan amendment, which is a variant of the Brown-Kaufman Safe Banking Act. It would "require a break up of those activities in the largest financial institutions in the country that represent an unacceptable risk the American economy," according to Dorgan.
Earlier, Feingold expressed his full support, as a co-sponsor, for an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve. In his statement on that, he also threatened to filibuster:
"Congress’ recent history on regulating the financial sector is not a proud one," Feingold said. "For the last 30 years, both Democrats and Republicans have consistently given in to the wishes of Wall Street banks and voted to weaken essential safeguards. Congress needs to get it right this time, and enact tough reforms that will actually prevent another crisis from happening. I will not vote to end debate on this bill unless and until it meets that goal."
If progressive Senators, like Feingold (who’s up for re-election), use their leverage and force at least some fundamental changes to how Wall Street does business, they can really make those changes. And unlike on health care, I do believe that Feingold, at least, will be all too happy to walk away from a bill which falls down from that.