The death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) could end up derailing Democratic Party efforts to get Congress to quickly approve a House-Senate compromise on Wall Street Reform legislation, as a key Republican now says he cannot vote for the bill.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) had won a series of deals in the plan which were seen as favorable to major financial interests in the Boston area, but Brown is now saying he will vote against the bill, because of $19 billion in fees that would be levied on big banks and financial institutions.
Those provisions were added to the bill around 5 am on Friday morning, the last substantive act of Congressional negotiators who met all night to hammer out a final measure.
That move did not sit well with Brown, who says he did not come to the Senate to vote for higher taxes on the financial industry.
His decision is very important, because with the vote of Brown and Byrd, Democrats have only 59 votes for the Wall Street Reform bill, not enough to shut off an expected last ditch filibuster by Republican opponents.
The problem is that two Democrats, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are refusing to vote for the bill as well, otherwise, Democrats would be fine.
House leaders had originally set Tuesday as a day to vote on the Wall Street package in the full House, but the plan was not put on the legislative schedule officially.
Still, the deal does not seem to be in danger of collapse, as this may be more of a question of how long Democrats have to wait for the Governor of West Virginia to appoint a replacement for Byrd.
Action on that front seems unlikely this week, with details of a Byrd funeral and ceremonies for him at the Capitol still to be ironed out.
Next week, the Congress is off, so that may mean no replacement will be named until mid-July, which may mean a delay of several weeks.
'Sooner or later' would seem to be the motto right now for Wall Street Reform supporters.