Joel Connelly:

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who voted against a Senate-crafted financial reform bill saying it was too weak, is giving badly needed support to a stronger version of the legislation worked out by a Senate-House conference committee.

Cantwell was one of only two Democratic senators to vote against the Senate version of the bill.

Cantwell said the conferees' version holds significant improvements over the original Senate bill, especially in its language requiring transparency in derivatives markets and tough penalties for evading the clearing and exchange trading requirements for derivatives.