Votes are scheduled to begin on amendments to the Wall Street reform bill tonight at 5:30 pm ET. We don’t know precisely which amendments are pending, but we do know that the McCain-Cantwell amendment to restore Glass-Steagall protections was mentioned on Thursday night as being on the list. However, those lists haven’t been totally accurate. Here’s what we know about some amendments:

• The amendments to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will either get a vote or get tucked into a manager’s amendment. These include the Brownback amendment to carve out an exemption for car dealers to federal consumer protection, and the Carper amendment to pre-empt state Attorneys General from enforcing local consumer protection laws. Chris Bowers claims a vote on the latter won’t come tonight.

• Jeff Merkley and Carl Levin write about their amendment to ban prop trading (basically the Volcker rule). As I noted over the weekend, Republicans may force a 60-vote threshold on the amendment. There’s some concern that this amendment is too specific and that banks would find a way around it, though the way they’re fighting it, they’re at least looking to not go through the trouble. Ryan Grim reports that Merkley and Levin have been in talks with some moderates (Warner, Hagan, Bayh, Scott Brown) and a compromise could be in the works, with the vote to come later, perhaps on Wednesday. I wouldn’t be surprised by a weakening side-by-side amendment designed to kill it, either.

• The derivatives piece remains targeted for watering down without anyone wanting to actually pull the trigger. Any action would probably take place late in the game, which means that the best outcome for retaining that piece continues to be a runoff election in Arkansas, so Blanche Lincoln can still need protection. Despite the establishment lining up in opposition, particularly the proposal to spin off swaps trading desks, nobody wants to be the villain to protect the banks here. So keeping this up in the air longer works to the advantage of reformers.

• Other amendments include Byron Dorgan’s two amendments to ban naked credit default swaps and mandate breakups of too big to fail firms. He has vowed to support a filibuster if he doesn’t get a vote on them. Also, Patrick Leahy has a pending amendment on ending the insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption.

It’s unclear when the cloture vote will come; this could potentially get dragged out until the end of the week. But today’s votes could prove telling.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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