When lawmakers began working on a final version of the financial regulatory reform bill, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and other conference committee leaders indicated they wanted to have a bill passed and headed to the president's desk before the July 4th holiday. At the time, it didn't seem as if meeting that goal would be much of a problem.
But this week, the Senate's longest-serving member, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., died, and Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has said he won't vote to pass the final bill if it still includes a fee on banks and other financial institutions that negotiators added at the last minute to avoid adding $19 billion to the budget deficit. That leaves Democrats two votes short of the filibuster-proof majority necessary to pass the bill in the Senate, according to Bloomberg.
Unless Byrd's replacement is appointed quickly, Brown decides not to change his vote, or one of the lawmakers who previously voted against the bill can be persuaded to change his or her mind, the Senate's final decision will be postponed until after the break.
The Wall Street Journal reports West Virginia's governor Joe Manchin, is not expected to name a replacement this week, and perhaps not until after Byrd's funeral.
The House vote, on the other hand, is expected as early as Wednesday morning.