The method behind what appears to be Republican madness in actually obstructing Wall Street reform is emerging.
Republicans say their 41 members are united and will oppose the motion, in order to encourage Democrats to continue negotiating with them behind closed doors.
Condemning closed-door negotiations yet voting to prevent public debate is the height of hypocrisy, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) told HuffPost on Monday. "By voting against cloture, Republicans are voting to keep Wall Street negotiations behind closed doors, demanding changes to the bill without public scrutiny. Instead of closed-door deals, they should support open floor debate," said Merkley.
So this a new twist to the old obstruction trope. In the health debate, they drug out the negotiations to try to kill the bill, knowing that time was a critical factor for the bill's defeat. This one is different, because killing this bill isn't in their best political interests, not when the American population is so angry at Wall Street. However, negotiating on behalf of Wall Street to water reform down--e.g., weaker consumer protections, minimal federal regulation--is in their political interest.
Here's Shelby, supposedly the key Republican negotiator, this morning using the oft-debunked "permanent bailouts" trope.
Obstructing, dragging the process out, gives them more time to wrap up their own version of the legislation and offer it up as an alternative to a failed "bipartisan" effort, so they can show their lobbyist friends their efforts. But it also would also keep Dems negotiating, the GOP calculates, with those negotiations behind closed doors instead of on the Senate floor in a process of offering debate and amendments. Steve Benen:
But Republicans have a different approach in mind -- they don't want to even start the debate. Despite all the talk of the last year about transparency, GOP officials insist that all work on Wall Street reform occur behind closed doors, and the ideas that could be debated on the floor are instead hashed out in secret, in between Republican fundraisers with representatives of the very institutions affected by the legislation.
As further proof, here's Mitch McConnell actually saying that allowing the debate to go forward on the Senate floors means an end to public debate on the issue. Literally.