In what proved to be a bit of a surprise to veteran Capitol Hill watchers — a pleasant one, from our perspective — a planned U.S. Senate vote to extend the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s unlimited Transaction Account Guarantee program through 2014 has (at least temporarily) gone down to defeat, failing to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a Budget Point of Order motion raised by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
The result was somewhat surprising in that S. 3637, the bill to extend TAG, had previously cleared the 60-vote threshold for cloture, thus closing off debate on whether to proceed to a vote, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell among those joining the majority Democrats in voting for cloture. However, on Toomey’s point of order — which asserts the legislation violates the terms of the existing budget resolution, and requires a three-fifths vote of senators to waive –only 50 senators voted to waive budget rules, while 42 voted against.
The decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to fill the amendment tree and effectively close off any constructive amendments (including, notably, the credit union member business lending legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.) may have been the legislation’s undoing, as several Republican senators noted that their votes against waiving the point of order were due to their wanting an open amendment process.
While it’s possible that TAG extension could still return and be attached to some other moving vehicle — including any compromise that is ultimately reached on the so-called “fiscal cliff” — it does appear the bill is dead, for now.