Dodd: Two weeks of debate on reform bill

Two weeks was the deadline tossed out Friday for the Senate to complete debate on a financial regulatory reform bill. 

Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said today he expects the measure will require two weeks of debate to iron out the remaining issues and deal with amendments. Votes on amendments are scheduled to begin Tuesday. 

Three cloture votes and a couple weeks of partisan rhetoric finally resulted in an agreement Wednesday to move forward on the legislation. Dodd and Senate Banking ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) became deadlocked on resolving any other issues on the bill and decided it was time to allow for floor debate. 

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cautioned today that debate can't go on forever and at some point lawmakers would need to complete their work. Reid blamed a lost week on delays by Republicans. Debate began Thursday. 

The chamber has a full agenda including a budget resolution, which usually takes about a week of votes to complete. 

Dodd, Shelby and others said they were planning to work through the weekend to go through possible amendments -- there were 22 filed through Thursday -- in an effort to speed up the process. 

There is still plenty of heavy lifting on consumer protection agency and derivatives provisions in the bill but lawmakers were optimistic that some progress could be made before next week. Dodd expects to release a revised version sometime next week to reflect any agreed upon changes.