Cochran, southern Senators back China currency bill

The Senate on Thursday took a step closer to passing a bipartisan bill to crack down on unfair China currency practices, defeating a filibuster led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who objected that Republicans weren’t given a chance to offer amendments.

On a 62-38 vote, the bill narrowly cleared a 60-vote procedural hurdle to end debate. A dozen Republicans — mostly from southern states hit hard by outsourcing and overseas competition — bucked McConnell and joined nearly all Democrats in voting yes.

In addition to Graham and Snowe, other Republicans voting yes were: Scott Brown of Massachusetts; Richard Burr of North Carolina; Thad Cochran of Mississippi; Susan Collins of Maine; John Hoeven of North Dakota; Rob Portman of Ohio; Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, both of Georgia; and Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, both of Alabama.