From NBC's Mark Murray
Breaking News, per the AP: "Republicans block action on financial regulation in legislation's first Senate showdown."
The vote was 57-41; 60 votes were to move the legislation to the floor. One Senate Democrat, Ben Nelson, voted with the Republicans. (*** UPDATE *** NBC's Ken Strickland adds that Harry Reid also voted NO but only because he had to switch his vote from "yes" in order to call for another vote later; it's a procedural thing. Republicans Bennett and Bond did not vote today.)
The legislation's prospects for passage are still alive. But Republicans -- and Nelson perhaps -- are blocking the legislation from proceeding to make changes to it.
Still, Democrats are pouncing on Republicans for blocking the legislation. Here is New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: "We now have Republicans on the record voting to giving big banks $700 billion of taxpayer funds -- but opposing holding them accountable for it. November will be a choice for voters, and over the past few months, Republicans have positioned themselves on the side of the special interests. On health care, Republicans stood with the insurance companies. On tobacco legislation, Republicans stood with big tobacco. On Wall Street reform, Republicans are standing with the corporate interests. Make no mistake about it: voters will understand that Democrats are the ones cleaning up the mess we inherited by putting the people's interests ahead of the special interests."
And here's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "Senate Democrats are committed to holding Wall Street accountable and putting consumers back in control. We expect to have more votes this week in order to move our bill to the floor. We remain open to working with our Republican colleagues, but we will not tolerate efforts to slow-walk this process or water down this reform because it is too important to middle-class families in Nevada and across America."