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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.