For the moment, Republicans have successfully beaten back the Democrat financial regulation overhaul, defeating a cloture motion to begin debate on the partisan bill by a 57-41 vote.
Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who has been most active in working with Democrats on the bill, voted no on cloture. So did other Republican question marks, including the Maine Ladies Collins and Snowe, Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who voted for Democratic derivatives language in committee, and Scott Brown (R., Mass.).
In somewhat of a surprise move, Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) joined the Republican filibuster, which means the Democrats could now need two defectors to move ahead.
It remains unclear whether Republicans can hold their opposition together long enough to cut a bipartisan deal, or whether mounting political pressure will lead to one or several defections.
Rumor has it that the Democrats could keep the Senate in session 24/7 and force the GOP to actually hold the floor in order to sustain a filibuster.
UPDATE: It seems like Nelson’s no vote has to do with an exemption in the derivatives language being sought by Warren Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway (headquartered in Nebraska). Buffett wanted a provision that would exempt existing derivative contracts from new rules.