The White House has momentum!
After the passage of healthcare reform (which finally got completed last night when the House voted on one last reconciliation tweak from the Senate), they’re going full-steam ahead with Chris Dodd’s financial reform bill, and at the moment it’s not looking like they’ll ahve much trouble getting it done.
Noam Scheiber at TNR has a good “how the White House got its groove back” piece, which contains this important political observation:
Before health care reform passed, according to this official’s reading of the emails, the banks had assumed they could rally a group of Democrats to block any measure they deemed excessive—the kind of thing that used to pass for bipartisanship in Washington. Since health care, says the official, “Democrats are seeing the value in holding together,” and so the banks are scrambling to produce a far-inferior plan B: holding the line with all 41 Senate Republicans. The problem, of course, is that a reform counteroffensive composed entirely of Republicans looks suspiciously like the party is doing Wall Street’s bidding—precisely what the banks and the GOP want to avoid.
Anytime you have this reformers vs. the reformed kind of narrative, it’s probably being overstated, but it makes sense that banks were presuming it could get a more watered down, goodie-filled bill passed.
More from Scheiber:
The fundamentals look pretty good for the reformers, in other words. Still, Democratic officials are guarding against overconfidence. If nothing else, there’s a concern that the banks could make inroads on some of the bill’s more arcane provisions—the details unlikely to gin up public outrage but which are fundamental to reforming the financial system. “The consumer agency, the Volcker rule, too big to fail, to some extent the Fed stuff—they’re the meat of it. Derivatives–there’s not going to be a lot of showy big floor fights on that,” says one anxious Senate staffer.