Washington (CNN) – After Senate Democrats' second consecutive failed attempt Tuesday to take up a financial regulatory reform bill, a moderate Republican from Ohio indicated for the first time that he is planning to switch his vote and support opening debate on the bill if a deal isn't reached soon between the top negotiators for each party.
The American people "want us to get something done," Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said in explaining why he would eventually join Democrats in insisting that the bill be debated on the floor.
Voinovich, who is not seeking re-election in November, would not say exactly how long he would wait before switching his vote but said, "I have an idea of how much time it takes to cut a deal." He also said he expects "a whole bunch" of other Republicans to make the same decision.
So, how are the talks going?
Ottumwa, Iowa (CNN) – Saying Republican senators are preventing a legislative debate the American people deserve, President Obama called out the GOP at an Iowa rally Tuesday.
"The American people deserve an honest debate on this bill." Obama told the crowd. "You should not have to wait one more day."
For the second time in as many days, Senate Republics blocked efforts Tuesday to move the debate forward on a financial reform bill because, in the GOP's view, there needs to be more focus on making sure there are no loopholes for banks to be "bailed out" in the future.
Before the Iowa crowd, the president took issue with Republicans' united front.
Ottumwa, Iowa (CNN) – President Obama spoke more extensively on the Arizona immigration bill on Tuesday, taking a question during a rally at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa Iowa.
"I have a lot of undocumented friends," said Julie Morales, a student at the community college. "Immigration has been in the news for many, many years, and nothing has been done about it, and I was just wondering what your plan was for our undocumented workers who have established our country?"
Obama criticized the recently passed Arizona immigration bill, calling it "poorly conceived."
"You can imagine if you are an Hispanic American in Arizona, your great grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state, but now suddenly if you don't have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're gonna be harassed," Obama said. "That's something that could potentially happen. That's not the right way to go."
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Arlen Specter released a new campaign ad Tuesday featuring actor Michael J. Fox.
The ad touts the five-term senator's support for medical research. "In the fight against disease, you can look back or move forward. Arlen Specter is moving forward," Fox says in the ad. "He's won the battles to double funding for biomedical research to find cures and save lives."
Appearing alone during the ad, Fox goes on to say, "The next discovery is right around the corner; that's why we need Arlen back in the Senate. He's smart, tough, and always moving forward."
Specter, who one year ago switched parties and became a Democrat, will face off in the Democratic primary against Rep. Joe Sestak; former Rep. Pat Toomey is the presumptive Republican Senate nominee.
(CNN) – Massachusetts gubernatorial hopeful Tim Cahill, an independent, responded Tuesday to a barrage of new ads directed at him by Republicans.
Cahill's independent bid is setting up a three-way contest between Republican Charlie Baker and the state's incumbent governor Democrat Deval Patrick.
In an effort to support Baker, the Republican Governors Association launched a television, radio, and internet ad blitz, as well as a new website Tuesday - all of which focus on Cahill's stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
"Tim Cahill – reckless with our money," a narrator says in the new RGA television ads.
Cahill responded Tuesday evening with a web video.
"Charlie Baker and his Washington friends are desperate to tear me down with over a million dollars in negative attack ads," Cahill says in the video as he looks straight into the camera's lens. "People are sick and tired of the old way of party politics. Attacks ads won't fix our economy. Attack ads won't create jobs for the middle class. They represent the past. My campaign for Governor represents the future."
In a statement announcing the release of the web video, Cahill campaign manager Adam Meldrum called the GOP ads "nothing short of a Hail Mary to try and save Charlie Baker's flailing candidacy."
The most recent poll in the race indicates that Gov. Patrick holds a slight edge over his two rivals in a three-way general election match up.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) – Indiana Senate hopeful Dan Coats went on the air Tuesday with his second television ad of the Republican primary season, the same day it was revealed he loaned his campaign $200,000.
With just one week remaining until primary day, the TV commercial targets the Obama administration's fiscal policies, which Coats says are "taking our country in the wrong direction."
"As a conservative, I fought against higher taxes and big spending," the former senator says in the ad. "President Obama is taking our country in the wrong direction – and I had to step up. Whether it's the big power grab they call health care, or the debt they're passing on to our kids, we need experienced conservative leaders who represent Hoosier values."
Coats, who served in the Senate between 1989 and 1999, is hoping to return to Washington, but faces fellow Republicans John Hostettler and Marlin Stutzman in the GOP primary.
Coats adviser Kevin Kellems told CNN Tuesday that the ad will air statewide, and is complemented by a sizable statewide radio buy.
Kellems also said that Coats loaned his campaign $200,000 on April 22, a move designed to "plug a temporary gap between pledges and receipts." The loan was first reported by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - Senate Democrats failed again Tuesday to muster the 60 votes needed to start debating Wall Street reform.
The official vote was 57-41 in favor of moving forward with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., switching his vote from "yes" to "no," in a procedural move that allows him, under the Senate rules, to bring the bill up again as early as Wednesday for another vote.
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., again joined 39 Republicans to vote against the proposal to officially start debating the Wall Street reform legislation before other lawmakers on a Senate Banking panel negotiate a deal. Two Republicans did not vote.
"We think this is the best way to get a better bill," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., explaining why his caucus has united to block the bill's movement.
Washington (CNN) - With midterm elections on the horizon and the nation's unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to block pay raises for members of Congress for the next fiscal year. The vote was 402-15.
The House action follows a similar move by the Senate last week.
Rules approved by Congress in 1989 provide for an automatic yearly cost of living adjustment, also known as a "COLA," in order to avoid the awkward situation of lawmakers voting to approve their own raises each year.
The current base salary for rank and file House members is $174,000 a year, with leaders earning more. Lawmakers were scheduled to receive a 0.9 percent raise in fiscal year 2011, adding $1600 to the current base salary, according to the Congressional Research Service.
(CNN) - Two hard-hitting new ads are heating up the Pennsylvania battle for the late Rep. Jack Murtha's congressional seat.
Republican Tim Burns is facing off against Democrat Mark Critz in a the May 18 special election. The race has stepped up in intensity in recent weeks, with both campaigns as well as national party committees going up with television ads.
The Burns campaign came out Tuesday with a new television commercial that questions the ethics of Critz, a longtime aide to Murtha, a Democrat who represented the district for 18 terms until he passed away earlier this year.
"Mark Critz. A Washington bureaucrat bankrolled by Pelosi. Critz was investigated by the congressional ethics office and Critz was in charge of the finances for a company caught on paying their taxes," says the narrator in the ad.
"The Ethics Committee found that Mr. Murtha did nothing wrong. Tim Burns knows this," Critz told CNN, responding to Burns' ad. "I worked for Parkins, a local small business, because I wanted to try to help my brother-in-law's company turn around its operations so that it could bring jobs to our community. I left because I disagreed with decisions that were being made over the company's future. These misleading personal attacks are Tim Burns' attempt to distract from his own record on job loss and outsourcing."
Washington (CNN) – A liberal advocacy group is taking aim at Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, for voting "no" Monday on the Democratic leadership's financial regulatory reform bill.
Angry by his decision to side with Republicans on this vote, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced Tuesday that it is running Internet ads on Nebraska news sites against Nelson.
While his vote was not decisive in stalling the legislation, it does provide the GOP with a key talking point that there is bipartisan opposition to the bill.
Nelson sought to explain his vote "no" vote by saying that it doesn't mean he is opposed to the bill, rather he just wanted to read the legislation first.