The top two members of the Senate Banking Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss the financial regulatory bill as many on Capitol Hill anticipate the opening of formal debate on the measure.
The Senate for the third time this week failed to pass a motion to begin debate over a GOP filibuster just before Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) spoke to reporters outside the Senate chamber.
Shelby said that he and Dodd would meet in the afternoon to discuss outstanding issues such as derivatives, shadowy financial products the bill seeks to regulate, and how to deal with "too big to fail" financial firms. The Alabama senator appeared confident the bill would reach the floor for debate, even though all GOP senators and centrist Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.) have blocked it.
"We have made great strides in too big to fail, we have received some assurances," Shelby said. "All roads ultimately lead to the floor, one way or another."
Senate Republicans have hoped for a bipartisan agreement before senators debate the bill on the floor, though some in the conference have signaled they are close to being ready to vote to allow the bill to move forward, expressing frustration over the stalled negotiations.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who for a time was the lead negotiator on the bill, said for the second time this week, a broad bipartisan deal is not likely to be reached before the bill hits the floor.
"It's pretty evident there's not going to be a broad bipartisan deal" before the bill is brought to the floor," he told reporters. "At some point, we'll move to the bill and have an open amendment process."
Dodd said that negotiations between him and Shelby are still serious but that they are not in a position to reach a broad deal on which all senators will agree before the bill is opened up for debate and amendments.
"They're always serious in a sense," he said. "But we're not in a position somehow, this notion that Richard Shelby and I are going to walk onto the floor and say to other 98 of you, 'I'm sorry your ideas to mean much to us. We have a deal.'"