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Dept. Of Inauspicious Beginnings

It looks like the Obama-supported effort to let bankruptcy judges modify mortgages if the lenders can't get it done has died in the Senate. Dick Durbin, who championed the effort, is going to be especially peeved:

"I hope the homeowners across America have more friends here than the American Bankers Association," said Mr. Durbin, the assistant majority leader and the Senate's second-highest-ranking Democrat.

Speaking to reporters before the vote, Mr. Durbin said he wouldn't support the banking industry on any new requests for government assistance because of their resistance to the cramdown measure.

"I want to tell you that if they have no sympathy for the eight million families that are facing foreclosure in this country, then I don't have any sympathy for them," he said.

So who were those Democrats who sold out homeowners and sided with bankers? Turns out there were 12 of them, including one Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania...

--Noam Scheiber