Republicans Will Agree to Move Forward on Regulatory Reform Bill

Senior Senate GOP aides tell Fox that Republicans are now ready to move forward with debate on a financial reform bill, after top Banking Committee Republican Richard Shelby, R-AL, secured an agreement with Chairman Chris Dodd, D-CT, on how to wind down complex, failing firms. Debate could begin as early as Wednesday.

But oddly, in a statement to the press, Shelby said only that talks have reached an impasse and that he does not support moving forward with a bill.

"Although I am disappointed that we have been unable to reach an agreement on across-the-board improvements to this legislation, I appreciate Chairman Dodd’s assurance that my concerns relating to ending bailouts will be included in his bill," Shelby said. "I take him at his word. While these changes are significant and meaningful, they are not sufficient to garner my support for moving this bill to the Senate floor."

All other items -- the consumer protection agency and the derivatives portion of the bill -- will be worked out on the Senate floor.  Shelby noted strong concerns he has in both of those areas, among others.

It is unclear when a vote to start debate will occur, if one even needs to occur (they could just agree to start debate).  It could happen as early as today.  A senior aide to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, says Republicans will meet in a closed-door, members-only session at 4:30pm to work all of this out.

McConnell, in a statement, said, "Now that (the Shelby-Dodd) bipartisan negotiations have ended, it is my hope that the majority’s avowed interest in improving this legislation on the Senate floor is genuine and the partisan gamesmanship is over. I remain deeply troubled by a number of provisions in this bill and will work aggressively in the days ahead to ensure that the majority does not use our mutual interest in regulating Wall Street to extend the federal government’s unwanted hand into Main Street.”

Hundreds of amendments are expected, from how to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to how best to respond to the situation at Goldman Sachs where the SEC is investigating fraud -- should there be a tight fiduciary responsibility requirement now, for instance?

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, has promised an open amendment process.