Senate balance at stake in Mass vote

John Dimsdale Jan 19, 2010
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Senate balance at stake in Mass vote

John Dimsdale Jan 19, 2010
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: There’s a special election today in Massachusetts that’s going to decide who finishes out the term of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Polls there show the Republican leading the race with a good chance of winning. Marketplace’s Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale is with us live this morning to talk about some of the financial implications. He’s in Washington. Good morning John.

John Dimsdale: Hi Steve.

Chiotakis: So the one option — I mean we’re talking about health care reform, what are the options for President Obama’s signature issue?

Dimsdale: Well, there would be several options to get it passed, but none of them very easy from the Democrats’ point of view. The one that’s getting the most attnetion is to just have the House pass the Senate version. If the House accepted that Senate bill, it would go to the president without any need for another Senate vote. Already, though, several House Democrats are balking at this idea, so it’s hard to see how that’s a viable option.

Chiotakis: And John, what about the rest of the White House economic agenda? I mean we’re talking about financial reform as well?

Dimsdale: Yep, yep — it would be, there would be a higher hurdle for things like regulatory reform, climate change. Moderate Democrats will begin to wonder if they should stick with the White House agenda, says the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabbato:

Larry Sabbato: The fact that someone like Scott Brown can come out of nowhere and win a Massachusetts Senate seat, that’s got to scare the bejesus out of Democrats everywhere.

And that means more compromises as these skiddish Democrats are forced to negotiate for Republican votes. On banking regulatory reform, for example, there’s likely to be a tougher battle to create an independent financial consumer protection agency if the Democrats no longer have the clout to push bills through the Senate without at least one Republican vote.

Chiotakis: Marketplace’s John Dimsdale in Washington. John, thanks.

Dimsdale: Thanks, Steve.

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