Deal Struck to Move Forward on Wall Street Reform

Posted April 28, 2010 at 3:07pm

Updated: 4:35 p.m.

Bipartisan negotiators appear to have reached a deal to begin debate on the financial regulatory reform bill, an agreement that likely ends a three-day Republican filibuster of the effort.

Details were still unclear, but one Democratic source said Republicans had been promised votes on an unspecified number amendments. Also unknown is whether the deal will affect Democrats’ plans to hold an all-night session.

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who for weeks has been negotiating with Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), said some of his top concerns with the legislation have been addressed but that a few sticking points remain. Regardless, Shelby suggested it was time to move forward.

“Now that my negotiations with Chairman Dodd have reached an impasse, I thank my Republican colleagues for their support and defer to their individual judgments on whether the Senate begins a floor debate on this bill,” Shelby said.

For three days, Republicans successfully blocked procedural motions to bring the bill to the floor for debate, arguing that the Senate should not take up the issue until a bipartisan deal was reached.

With those negotiations between Shelby and Dodd over, at least a handful of Republicans are expected to vote to begin debate. “Now that those 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,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

McConnell added that he remained “deeply troubled” with portions of the bill, but in his statement he acknowledged that concerns over a controversial $50 billion bank fund had been addressed. That provision had been a key sticking point for Republicans.

Dodd declared in a statement of his own that “it is time for this debate to begin.”

“Members must be allowed to offer amendments” he said. “We must allow many voices to be heard as we work to create a sound foundation for our nation’s future economic strength.”

Senate Republicans went into a meeting at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the details of the agreement.