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Congress: The final scramble

"Democratic leaders scrambled Monday to peel away the Republican votes they need to bring a Wall Street reform package to the Senate floor this week -- an effort hampered by sharp partisan divisions," the Washington Post front-pages. "Both sides are eager to exploit a lingering resentment toward Wall Street in the election-year debate. Democrats have seized on the attempt to curb reckless investment practices as part of an effort to depict the GOP as out of touch with the concerns of average Americans. On Monday, Democrats sought to use a lawsuit brought against financial giant Goldman Sachs by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a cudgel to persuade Republicans to line up behind the bill."

Roll Call adds, "Neither Senate Democrats nor Republicans seem all that confident that they have identified a winning strategy when it comes to the upcoming financial regulatory reform debate. Though Democratic leaders claim they are willing to bring the bill to the floor as soon as Thursday with or without GOP support, they are also relying on a full-court press by the White House and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to recruit the crucial Republican votes that they need to overcome a threatened GOP filibuster."

1,500? The New York Times: "With so much money at stake, it is not surprising that more than 1,500 lobbyists, executives, bankers and others have made their way to the Senate committee that on Wednesday will take up legislation to rein in derivatives, the complex securities at the heart of the financial crisis, the billion-dollar bank bailouts and the fraud case filed last week against Goldman Sachs."  

"Senator Scott Brown's use of as-yet-unsubstantiated industry estimates to predict the number of jobs that would be lost to greater financial regulation drew fire yesterday as partisan debate continued to heat up in the US Senate," the Boston Globe reports. "Brown said yesterday that his weekend prediction on national TV Sunday that tightening Wall Street rules would kill 25,000 to 35,000 jobs in Massachusetts was 'based on my speaking with industry leaders' in recent weeks, but he did not cite any specific analysis. That varied from an explanation offered by his representatives on Sunday, when his office said Brown was given the estimate by the chief executive of MassMutual, a large insurance company headquartered in Springfield."

"In the latest mess involving Rep. Charlie Rangel's (D) finances, the former Ways and Means chairman's campaign committee paid $26,000 in fines to New York City on Jan. 19," Roll Call reports. "What could possibly lead to such a massive sum? Rangel's office isn't saying."