Sen. Robert Corker (R-Tenn.) will negotiate on financial reform directly with Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).
Dodd announced Thursday that he would pursue a bipartisan financial reform package with Corker, a junior member of the Banking committee, after an impasse in talks had emerged with Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
“In that time Senator Corker has proved to be a serious thinker and a valuable asset to this committee," Dodd said in a statement. "For that reason, I called him Tuesday night and asked him to negotiate the financial reform bill with me. We met in my office on Wednesday and given the importance of these issues he agreed.”
Dodd and Shelby announced the breakdown in talks last week, which center around the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Corker said earlier this week that he's hopeful a bipartisan deal could be reached on that aspect, and a number of other areas of controversy in the legislation.
Corker said during an appearance on CNBC Thursday morning that he would never supersede Shelby's role on the committee, but that he thought it was important to step forward.
"I'm just one senator, and I would never say that I could replace Sen. Shelby, someone I respect and like a lot," he said. "But I am stepping forward as a Republican senator saying that this is a piece of legislation that needs to be passed."
Dodd said the renewed talks with Corker had left him optimistic that legislation could be resuscitated.
“I am more optimistic than I have been in several weeks that we can develop a consensus bill to bring about the reforms the financial sector so desperately needs to prevent another economic crisis," Dodd said.
Corker said he welcomed "appropriate" consumer protection, but nothing too invasive.
"I want to do what I can to make sure there's appropriate consumer protection, but not the long reach of federal government arms into areas that are unnecessary," he said.