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Congress: Rejected -- for now

"Republicans closed ranks Monday to block Democrats' overhaul of financial regulation, a standoff that throws the sweeping legislation into a period of uncertainty," the Wall Street Journal writes. "On a 57-41 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes they needed to begin debate, even losing one of their own. The vote dramatized how politicized the debate has become on an issue once thought to be a ripe for cross-party cooperation." 

The New York Times adds, "Republicans said they were intent on winning substantive changes to the bill and accused the Democrats of rushing the most far-reaching overhaul of the financial regulatory system since the Great Depression. Both sides say they expect the overhaul eventually will be approved." 

The Boston Globe: "The 57-to-41 vote -- three shy of the number that Senate rules say are needed to end the filibuster and proceed -- is a setback for Democrats who have been pushing for the biggest overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression. It could give Republicans, who oppose several key aspects of the proposal, more momentum in brokering a bipartisan compromise. Polls suggest the legislation is popular with the public, but it has drawn strong opposition from securities industry lobbyists. Democrats appeared intent on pushing forward, betting that Republicans will eventually cave under public pressure to support the bill."  
 
The New York Daily News: "The setback may only be temporary. Key Democrats and Republicans are still trying to reach a deal for a bipartisan reform package."  
 
Roll Call sees it this way: "Senate Democrats got exactly what they wanted Monday night: a concrete way to try to tar Republicans as beholden to Wall Street schemers who would put the country in danger of another financial industry collapse."  
 
And how about this? "Sen. Ben Nelson may find himself embroiled in yet another controversy over special deals for his state, considering the Nebraska Democrat on Monday voted against bringing up a financial regulatory reform bill after a provision that could have benefited Nebraska billionaire Warren Buffett was dropped," Roll Call reports. 

A Goldman grilling? "Fabrice Tourre was smooth with the ladies, but the Goldman Sachs trader at the center of the firm's big scandal will have a tougher time charming a panel of senators Tuesday," the New York Daily News reports. "The elusive Tourre -- or 'fab Fab,' as he calls himself -- is due to be grilled by an investigations subcommittee along with Goldman Chairman Lloyd Blankfein. The Securities and Exchange Commission charges the firm drew investors toward the collapsing housing market in 2007 -- then made big money by helping to bet against it. Racy e-mails suggest Tourre, a 31-year-old Frenchman, wasn't just playing the market -- he was playing two women at the same time.

The Senate HELP Committee will focus on mine safety today.  
 
Must be nice... "Most careers end with a gold watch or a happy hour. For retiring House Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), the parting gift from the nation's taxpayers appears to be an all-expenses-paid tour of Italy, Switzerland and China," Roll Call reports. "Gordon told his constituents in mid-December that he was calling it quits after 13 terms. Since then, the Blue Dog Coalition member has embarked on a global victory lap of sorts, spending tens of thousands of dollars to sample international locales while traveling on official government business."