The regulatory reform bill overcame a major procedural obstacle in the Senate on Thursday, as lawmakers voted 60 to 40 to limit debate and move the legislation toward final passage.

The successful cloture vote means senators have a maximum of 30 hours to debate the bill, although they may not take all of that time and could approve the bill late tonight.

The vote comes just a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried and failed to attain the 60 votes needed for cloture, with two Democrats — Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin — joining most Republicans in voting against the measure. (Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who lost the Democratic primary late Tuesday, missed the vote, while Reid voted against it for procedural reasons).

Still to come are an amendment from Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., to strengthen the so-called Volcker Rule to ban proprietary trading, and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's manager's amendment.

Banking representatives are hoping that Dodd might strike a provision of the bill that would eliminate the thrift charter, address a concern with a capital provision adopted from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that would prohibit counting trust preferred securities as Tier 1 capital and remove a proposed lending limit restriction for state banks.

This story has been reprinted with permission from American Banker.

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