Obama, Lawmakers Discuss Financial Overhaul
AUDIE CORNISH: For months, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee have said that financial reform wouldn't be as partisan as health care. They said they had 70 percent agreement on what would be in the bill. It appears that's no longer the case, says banking chairman Christopher Dodd.
CHRISTOPHER DODD: Listening to some of the rhetoric of the last 24 hours, I wonder if we've been in not only in the same chamber, in the same city, but on the same planet when it comes to the efforts that have been made to try and reach a bipartisan agreement to deal with financial reform.
CORNISH: The bipartisan meeting at the White House with congressional leaders did little to blur the lines of division. Top Republican on the banking committee, Richard Shelby.
RICHARD SHELBY: (Unintelligible) right now and you say, look if we get 41 votes, you're going to have to deal with us because we're not going to support the Dodd bill as it came out of the committee.
CORNISH: GOP lawmakers see the White House's efforts as unwelcome interference in what was left of negotiations. They need a united front, all 41 votes to block the bill. So far, the few Republicans that Democrats hope to win over are either hostile to the measure or ambivalent. Here are three senators from New England: Judd Gregg, Susan Collins and Scott Brown.
JUDD GREGG: Why would we do that when we're not in the room? I mean, basically the proposals that are on the table today do not accomplish our goals.
SUSAN COLLINS: It's premature for me to reach a judgment on the bill. I'm not happy with the process that they use to bring it to the floor.
SCOTT BROWN: It's politics over really solving problems, and the president should do better. And I challenge him and the administration to do better.
CORNISH: And Democrats may have trouble with some of their own caucus. Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he wants the bill to be a lot tougher on consumer issues.
BERNIE SANDERS: If it's not a strong bill, if it's not going to have real change, of course I'm prepared to vote against it.
CORNISH: Audie Cornish, NPR News, the Capitol.
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