Top Republicans warned Thursday that while the GOP might have allowed the Wall Street reform bill proceed to debate, a bipartisan final vote is anything but a done deal.
After the GOP dropped its objections to beginning floor debate on financial reform legislation on Wednesday evening, a lengthy amendment process will begin, a process which Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, hoped might bring the two parties closer together.
"If we could do that in a bipartisan way, we’ll get a good bill," Shelby said of the upcoming amendment process, specifically in relation to derivatives and consumer protection. "If we don’t, we’ll be polarized and it will not be good for the economy or job growth in the future in this country.”
Senators will begin debating and amending the legislation after, Shelby said during an appearance on Fox News, Republicans had concluded Wedneday that they couldn't get Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to agree to changes in the bill before the debate.
The pair had made "great strides" on the so-called "too big to fail" problem, Shelby said, though he stressed that a total agreement had not yet been reached.
But as the bill moves to the floor, the 59 Senate Democrats will also be mindful that, as a practical matter, they will not need more than one Republican to join with them in order to pass through the bill and fend off certain amendments.
One senior Republican who was thought to be a potential supporter of the legislation said Thursday that he would not support the bill in its current form. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a member of the Banking committee and the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said he was still not satisfied with the bill during an appearance on MSNBC.
Shelby said that a final bipartisan tally would depend on Democrats -- as well as Republicans -- showing some actual willingness to compromise, something Democrats may not be disposed to do after successfully forcing the GOP's hand to allow debate.
“We could ultimately in the debate, move towards a bipartisan vote, a bipartisan bill too, but that will depend on us both giving and taking," the Alabama Republican said. "We’ve got a long way to go…it’s going to take some debate.”