A simple majority of the Senate will be all that is required to adopt an amendment to Wall Street reform, if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gets his way.
The recent tradition in the Senate has been to require, by unanimous consent, that amendments need 60 votes to succeed. The framers' intention was never to require a super-majority: Otherwise, why would the vice president be given the power in the Constitution to break ties? No final decision has been made, but Reid weighed in on the side of a majority vote on Tuesday morning.
"I would hope also that we don't get locked into something that appears to be the order of the Congress around here that everything has to have 60 votes. On our side we're willing -- I can't speak for everyone, but I think I'm going to certainly -- I'm more within my power to tell my senators: 'Let's just have a 50-vote margin. Why do we need to have 60 votes on everything we do around here?"
Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told reporters previously that the longer tradition of the Senate was to have a majority vote and that he hoped to see that again for Wall Street reform.
A majority-vote threshold would make all amendments -- both those toughening the bill and those weakening it -- easier to pass.
The Democratic caucus meets for its weekly luncheon Tuesday and will likely discuss the way forward, though the party would need Republican consent by the rules of the Senate.