The unexpected death of Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) could push final passage of the conference report in the Senate until after next week’s scheduled district work period. Even before Byrd’s death, Democrats appeared short of the 60 votes needed to take up the conference report. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), one of four Republicans who supported the Senate version of the bill when it was passed 59-39, voiced opposition to the final version citing concerns about the addition of a tax on banks. The three other GOP supporters of the Senate-passed bill were Charles Grassley (R-IA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME). The Senate is expected to take up the conference report immediately after passage by the House, which remains on track to debate the conference report Tuesday or Wednesday.
Senator Byrd’s seat will remain open until the Governor of West Virginia appoints a temporary representative to serve the balance of Senator Byrd’s term. In this case, we believe the Governor he will appoint a replacement who will not seek reelection. We will keep you posted as we learn more about the bill’s prospects as the July 4th district work period approaches.