Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-WV) death Monday morning could affect the passage of the financial reform bill, said Sheila Bair, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
"It does create a new dynamic," said Bair. "It was razor thin to begin with, so it does introduce a new unknown into the process."
One of the key issues that could cause the current piece of legislation to be halted because of a lack of votes is the bank tax, which Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said he opposes in a statement Friday.
“I was surprised and extremely disappointed to hear that $18 billion in new assessments and fees were added in the wee hours of the morning by the conference committee. While I'm still reviewing the bill's details, these provisions were not in the Senate version of the bill which I previously supported," stated Brown. "My fear is that these costs would be passed onto consumers in the form of higher bank, ATM and credit card fees and put a strain on lending at the worst possible time for our economy. I’ve said repeatedly that I cannot support any bill that raises taxes.”
Brown's support is all the more crucial in the wake of Byrd's death because the loss of Brown's vote could jeopardize the key 60 vote benchmark for the bill's passage.