Dem leaders continued the strong rhetoric on financial reform today, possibly indicating that they do think this is an issue they have leverage over Republicans on.
The White House took the lead, "daring" Republicans to oppose the bill.
For weeks, the White House strategy on financial regulatory reform remained an open question: Would President Barack Obama water down his bill just to get something passed — the way he did on health care?
A Palinesque "Hell no!" was the answer coming from the White House on Wednesday as the president, his senior aides and his allies on Capitol Hill issued an ultimatum to Republicans fighting Democrats’ plans to overhaul financial oversight.
"For the president, you have to be willing to accept a strong bill," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, after Obama emerged from a contentious meeting with GOP congressional leaders.
"If the effort to get this close is simply to take steps to weaken that legislation, that’s not what the president is interested in."
Reid is ready to push forward, as early as next week:
"We have talked about this enough. We have negotiated this enough," said an assertive Reid during a leadership press briefing. The bill, he said, could come to the floor as early as next week.
He dismissed GOP objections that the bill amounts to a permanent bailout of large banks.
"This is as Orwellian as it gets," Reid said.
And Dodd took to the floor today to slam Republicans:
If the debate is going to consist of Democrats offering ideas to tackle this very complex--and it is a complex set of issues--and critical challenges on behalf of American families and businesses, and the Republicans reading false talking points from Wall Street's playbook, then count me out, Mr. President. I'm not going to engage in that kind of a debate, in that kind of a negotiation. I have not interest in that whatsoever. We have a job to do here, and if my friends on the other side of the aisle don't feel like doing the work, maybe they should think about the millions of unemployed Americans who didn't get to go to work this morning because they lost their jobs in this economy created by the mismanagement, the failure to step up and take steps to correct these problems over the last number of years.
Those Americans would love nothing more than to do an honest day's work for a good day's pay, but they can't because the same banks that are sponsoring this parade of bamboozlement on one side of the aisle cost our country 8.4 million jobs, 7 million homes, lost health care and destroyed futures and retirement accounts. That's all gone. What about them in this debate? Are their issues, their views, their concerns going to be discussed? Or just shut it down. Don't even debate the issue. Because you won't agree with my idea. Mr. President, that's not what that institution exists for. It's not abot the process, it's not about committee assignments, it's not about your idea or mine. It's about the people beyond the walls of this chamber.
It would seem that Democrats are actually relishing the prospect of a fight on this bill. They should. And they should make that fight as meaningful as possible by making the bill as strong as possible.
Update: The Dems' confidence seems to be well placed. The Hill blog is reporting that McConnell doesn't have the votes to block the bill.