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Business | National | Politics | Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 11:31 pm

Business groups make final push before financial reform vote

The Chamber of Commerce and other national business groups are planning a last-minute push to sway senators — including Maine Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — into blocking the financial reform bill when the Senate reconvenes July 12.

Reuters reported that the Credit Union National Association and the American Bankers Association are also urging voters to contact the four senators who have been reticent to pick a side on the debate.

Democrats need Snowe and Collins’ votes, especially since the death this week of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W. Va.

Collins has said she is inclined to back the bill, but Snowe has been more cagey. Collins voted for the original Senate version in May after her amendment to create impose stronger capital requirements was added. Snowe also voted for the original bill after changes were made to lessen the impact on small businesses.

Here’s Reuter’s description of the Chamber’s drive:

The campaign provides the chamber’s 3 million business members with online guidance on lawmakers’ public schedules during the recess, talking points and draft letters that cast the bill’s restriction on financial derivatives and consumer protection as dangers to small businesses and consumers.

The push also targets Scott Brown R-Ma. and Chuck Grassley R-Iowa, who are still on the fence. Maria Cantwell D- Wash., was also holding out, but said Thursday she would back the bill.

The bill, which cleared the House Thursday, would set up an independent consumer bureau within the Federal Reserve to protect borrowers from lending abuses, establish oversight of the derivatives market, and give the government power to dissolve failing financial companies.

D.S. MacLeod is editor of The Haul and a founding editor of the Observer.

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