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Finance overhaul sails through Senate panel

WASHINGTON – Democrats sent a massive Wall Street regulation bill to the full Senate on a party line vote Monday after a temporary retreat by Republicans that still left the bill’s chances for bipartisan passage in doubt.

In a surprise move, the Senate Banking Committee met briefly to approve the bill 13-10, but not before Republicans jettisoned more than 300 amendments they had planned that could have put their imprint on the measure. Senators had been expecting a long week of votes and debate, only to find themselves voting as they were still easing into their seats.

The Senate would not take up the bill until April at the earliest.

President Barack Obama applauded the committee’s vote, declaring: “We are now one step closer to passing real financial reform.” But Obama said he would seek to strengthen the bill, a stance that would certainly complicate efforts at bipartisanship.