The battle over financial regulatory overhaul continued Wednesday with the third in a series of votes designed to permit debate to begin on the bill. But, for the third time the vote failed 56 to 42. Sixty votes are needed before the bill would proceed to floor debate.
Republicans cite their experiences during the health care battle as a primary reason to insist on working out the substance of the current legislation before it reaches the floor - not afterwards. Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said on the floor Wednesday that once this bill does get to the floor, we all recognize it's going to be very, very difficult to change it.
Meanwhile, Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has joined Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., working on an immigration bill. The trio hopes to create a framework that would both enhance border security and establish a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants already in the United States. Reid has backed off his earlier pledge to fast-track immigration reform and move first on financial overhaul.
However the impetus that moved immigration reform off the back burner may be in trouble. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. says the Justice Department may sue Arizona over a new state law that authorizes police to question the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Holder says he's very concerned about the wedge it could draw between communities that law enforcement is supposed to serve and those in law enforcement.