OK, here's the situation on the Dodd-Frank financial bill. The Democrats need 60 to get it over the finish line, and they currently have 58 Democrats in the Senate. They got 60 aye votes on the first version.
- Senators Feingold (D) and Cantwell (D) both voted against Dodd-Frank last time.
- Senator Brown (R) voted for the first version, but is being reported now as having switched his vote to 'no' over the last-minute addition of new taxes to the final version (H/T: Instapundit).
- Senator Collins (R) also voted for the first version, and is likewise balking over the new taxes (no commitment).
- Senator Snowe (R), who also voted for the first version, is sounding iffy on voting for this one, again because of the new taxes.
- In other words: one switch to no and probably a second.
- Senator Grassley (R) is about the only remaining potential pickup (he voted for cloture), and he won't commit to signing off on the final version.
- And, of course, Senator Byrd died last weekend.
So, basically the Democrats went from 60 votes to anywhere from 59 to 55; my assessment is that they don't have Brown, Collins, and maybe Snowe (net Ayes: 57). Feingold won't switch his vote: they'll retain Grassley on the cloture thing and probably pick up Cantwell, as she's the weaker one of the two Democratic no votes (net Ayes: 58). Subtract out Byrd and that works out to 57 aye votes, or not enough for cloture. Even assuming that they can get Feingold to switch and lock in Snowe, that's 59... and that scenario will only work if they can get that 60th seat filled soon.
In other words, I assume that at this very moment there is a Democratic party official trying to avoid losing control and scream at the governor of West Virginia about how he needs to appoint a successor to Byrd right now.
PS: It is reasonable to think that the last-minute 19 billion dollar revenge tax on the financial industry that started this entire mess for the Democrats stands an excellent chance of going away; it's probably not reasonable to think that Dodd-Frank will. Elections have consequences, ladies and gentlemen. Here, have some.
PPS: On the other hand, cap-and-trade opponents should be a bit more cheery: this takes a lot of pressure off on Gov. Manchin to appoint a dunderhead on proper coal development.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.