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Any time I see that the Senate has passed something by a vote of 93–5 or 96–1 I can be sure of one thing—it’s meaningless. It’s the equivalent of a proclamation naming Sunday as the official first day of the week. Such was the case yesterday with 2 amendments to the financial regulatory bill:

“The Senate on Wednesday approved two amendments to the financial regulatory bill that both Democrats and Republicans claimed would end the prospect of taxpayer-financed bailouts for companies deemed “too big to fail.”

[…]

By a vote of 93 to 5, the Senate approved an amendment by Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee [which] eliminated a $50 billion fund that was designed to help bridge financial shortfalls while a failing company was undergoing liquidation. Mr. Shelby said the fund was “a honey pot” that would facilitate “backdoor bailouts.” (Somewhere Frank Luntz is smiling).

[…]

The Shelby amendment also requires the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to oversee the liquidation of a systemically important financial company that is failing, using money provided by a special line of credit with the Treasury.”

And where does the Treasury get its money again?

“The Senate also approved, by a vote of 96 to 1, an amendment by Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, saying that no taxpayer money may be used to keep a ailing financial company alive.”

Wow, earthshaking stuff there too. Wake me up when (or should that be if) they get around to the Brown–Kaufman amendment.

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