Republican senators sent signals Wednesday that they may relent in blocking a Wall Street reform bill from moving to the floor.
Several GOP senators expressed frustration about the stalled negotiations, and indicated they feel it is likely the legislation approved in a party-line vote by the Senate Banking Committee will eventually hit the floor for debate.
Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.), a member of the Banking Committee and key negotiator on financial legislation, went so far as to question why Republicans were talking about putting their own legislation together.
"I'm not sure what the purpose of it is, to be candid," Corker said. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it."
Corker said senators are "going through the motions" to vote against allowing the bill to proceed, and he agreed with an assessment by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Banking Committee, that it was "unlikely that on the front end we're going to end up with a bipartisan agreement."
"I will say that probably, just based on the comment you referred to and others, at some point, there's no question, the bill will come to the floor," Corker said on CNBC. "And with the numbers that exist, who knows what type of legislation we'll end up with?"
Shelby said himself that the bill would have to come to the floor eventually, though he acknowledged that a deal on the whole bill was not yet close.
"We're going to keep talking and see what happens," he said during an appearance on MSNBC. "And sooner or later, the bill's probably going to have to come to the floor."
Some centrist senators have shown signs of fatigue over the filibusters they've waged in the last two days, forcing two 57-41 votes and a third likely this afternoon. Those votes are short of the 60 needed to proceed on the legislation.
The American people "want us to get something done," Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told CNN on Tuesday night. He also said that the repeated votes were "counterproductive," and that he may vote for the motion to proceed if bipartisan talks are unproductive.
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase MORE (R-Maine), another senator who'd been seen as a possible defector, also said that talks can't go on forever.
"I asked Sen. [Harry] Reid [D-Nev.], the majority leader, to postpone the vote rather than bringing a divisive bill to the floor, and give the negotiators a couple of weeks to work it out," Collins said during an interview on MSNBC. "If they can't, we should proceed."
Democrats have also sought to pummel the GOP for having blocked proceeding with the bill, with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) launching television ads on Wednesday that attack Republican senators on the matter.
Senators are set to vote again around 12:15 Wednesday afternoon in another attempt to move forward with the legislation, a vote Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Corker both said Wednesday morning was still likely to fail.
But Corker said that bill will likely be on the floor at some point anyway.
"The bill that's moving is the one that will be on the floor," he said. "And what is it that we can do to try and get in a place that we don't, in the name of driving a message, basically mess up the capital markets in our country?"