Corker would be 'stunned' if bipartisan deal not reached on reg reform

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Thursday he'd be "stunned" if senators can't reach a bipartisan agreement on financial regulatory reform legislation. 

Corker, who'd spearheaded negotiations last month on a bipartisan bill with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), said it's his expectation that a deal would be struck, despite recent partisan rancor on the issue.

"I will be stunned if we do not reach a bipartisan agreement," Corker said during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Unfortunately, the winds are blowing, healthcare has created momentum, there are a lot of things that don't aid that effort," the Tennessee Republican added. "But at the end of the day, I think we're going to have a solid, bipartisan bill, and I'm going to work toward that end."

Rhetoric on regulatory reform has reached a fever pitch this week in Washington, after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor to blast Dodd's bill for perpetuating bailout programs. Democrats in the administration and in Congress have shot back forcefully, accusing the GOP of siding with powerful corporate and financial interests. 

Dodd has still been pursuing negotiations with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Banking committee, though Dodd has cautioned that he's ready to go to the Senate floor with his bill as soon as leadership is ready. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will address financial regulations during a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday.

Corker expressed optimism that the impasses in the legislation could be solved quickly if Democrats came back to the bargaining table.

"The fact is, though, that I think we can solve those in about five minutes," Corker said. "So what I've urged is let's tone down the rhetoric a bit."

"If we can come to a bipartisan template that has the major provisions worked out before it gets to the floor, my sense is we'll have a very civil debate -- there will be some differences on some issues," Corker added. "But my sense is, Republicans do want to see a regulatory bill of this type come to fruition."