WASHINGTON — Historic US legislation to overhaul the rules on Wall Street took a big step Monday towards final passage as a holdout Republican senator said he would vote for the White House-backed bill.
"While it isn't perfect, I expect to support the bill when it comes up for a vote," said Republican senator Scott Brown, the target of ardent courtship by President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in Congress.
"It includes safeguards to help prevent another financial meltdown, ensures that consumers are protected, and it is paid for without new taxes," Brown said in a statement that virtually assured that the measure will pass.
Democrats and their two independent allies control 58 seats in the Senate, but one Democrat has said he will oppose the measure, leaving them three votes shy of the 60 needed to ensure passage over any parliamentary delaying tactics.
Brown's vote was among the most closely watched, and his announcement came after Democrats took the unusual step of scrubbing a 19-billion-dollar bank fee from the bill after he warned he would oppose the measure because of it.
The US House of Representatives approved the legislation on June 30, and the Senate was expected to act on the bill as early as this week, sending it to Obama to sign into law in what would be a huge White House political victory.
Brown warned in his statement that final passage "doesn't mean our work is done" and called for "further reforms" to address the government's role in the 2007-2009 global economic collapse as well as overhaul state-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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