Senators negotiating financial regulatory reform legislation said on Sunday they were close to a bipartisan agreement, but conceded they may not get a deal before a crucial Senate vote on Monday.
Democratic Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd and Senator Richard Shelby, the panel's top Republican, told NBC's Meet the Press they were talking through the weekend to try to reach agreement on a bill aimed at preventing future taxpayer bailouts of financial firms.
We're getting there, we're close, we've got more work to do, Dodd said. I hope can get the votes tomorrow to start the debate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set a procedural vote to begin debate on a Democratic bill late on Monday. Republicans said they will likely vote to block consideration of the bill if no bipartisan agreement is reached by then.
Democrats would need at least one Republican to break ranks with their leaders to get the 60 votes needed in the 100-member Senate to start debating the bill.
But even if Democrats fail to win the vote, the legislation would not be dead, just be delayed. Members of both parties appear anxious to pass legislation ahead of the November mid-term congressional elections.
I think we're closer than we've ever been, Shelby said. Will we get a bill by tomorrow, I doubt it.
Republican Senator Bob Corker, who has been involved in the discussions, told ABC's This Week that was very likely Republicans would stick together and block consideration of the bill if a bipartisan alternative is not produced by then.
It's very important that we reach that bipartisan agreement first, Corker said when asked if any Republicans would support taking up debate on Monday.
Despite the partisan maneuverings ahead of the vote on Monday, the top players in the negotiations expressed confidence that they eventually will produce a bill that both Democrats and Republicans will support.
The broad legislative push by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats comes as fraud charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc have thrown Wall Street and Republicans onto the defensive after months of working to weaken Democratic reform proposals.
Lawmakers agree they do not want a repeat of the financial crisis that nearly brought about U.S. economic collapse and forced taxpayers to bail out once high-flying financial firms.
I'm very confident. I think we're going to have very strong support from Republicans for a strong bill, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on CNN's GPS show. I think everybody has to be for reform, he said.
Senior White House adviser Lawrence Summers said emails sent by Goldman executives on money the firm made by betting against risky mortgage securities show the need for transparency in financial markets.
Summers, on CBS's Face the Nation, said he would not comment on specifics of a fraud suit against Goldman brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But I will say this, he said. This underscores what is at the center of the president's vision here: the importance of transparency, the importance of things being in the open, the importance of it being known who is in a position to benefit from what.
The financial reform bill, approved along party lines by Dodd's committee, would bring new oversight to hedge funds and derivatives while cracking down on risky bank trading and putting in place protections for consumers.
It would also establish a system for unwinding troubled financial companies to prevent a repeat of catastrophes such as the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
The Lehman Brothers collapse came at the start of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, triggered by the implosion of the U.S. sub-prime mortgage derivatives market.
(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan, Glenn Somerville and Tim Gardner; Editing by Vicki Allen)