Republicans Relent, Allow Debate On Financial Overhaul To Begin

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Republicans relent, allow debate on financial overhaul to beginAfter voting for three consecutive days to block financial reform legislation from reaching the floor, Senate Republicans finally relented last week and agreed to allow floor deliberations to begin.

GOP leaders decided to move forward with debate after Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said he received assurances from Democrats that they were willing to adjust the bill to alleviate concerns that it perpetuates bailouts, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

However, some political pundits believe the decision was made in response to the mounting political pressure applied by Democrats, who have cast Republicans as uncooperative and obstructive.

"It’s very difficult for me to comprehend senators, Republican senators, coming to the floor and nitpicking this bill," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "All the talk of the Republicans, about wanting to do something about this bill before it gets on the floor, is really anti-Senate, and anti-American."

While Republicans disagree with several aspects of the bill, they seem most perturbed with its aggressive and strict consumer protection language. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), who authored the legislation, indicated his willingness to adjust the bill, but said he will not "weaken consumer protections given the enormous abuses we have seen."

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