STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And we have more this morning from NPR's Audie Cornish.
AUDIE CORNISH: Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland called the bipartisan talks nothing more than a delay tactic.
BEN CARDIN: So we're going to stay here, and if the Republicans are going to filibuster it, the American people are going to see that they're filibustering this issue.
CORNISH: All week, Republicans - joined by one Democrat, Nebraska's Ben Nelson - had stood together against bringing the bill to the floor. The GOP argues it had to do this to win concessions in the bill before processing it on the floor. They note that in the last big Senate debate on health care, only one Republican floor amendment got through. That argument held the minority together for three votes. But by midweek, some moderates, like Ohio Republican George Voinovich, were hinting that they were ready to move on.
GEORGE VOINOVICH: If they're not able to work something out, then I think that what we need to do is open it up and go through the amendments on the floor and see if we can't come up with something that really does the job that we all want it to do.
CORNISH: Unidentified Man (Announcer): "As the World Turns."
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AS THE WORLD TURNS")
CORNISH: Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander said the delay served a purpose.
LAMAR ALEXANDER: We acted together to exercise our 41 votes in a very effective way, to provide a check and balance to improve the bill on the too-big-to-fail part. Now it's time to go to the floor and we can use our votes and our voices to try to provide a check and a balance to improve the bill further.
CORNISH: Here is Richard Shelby of Alabama, the lead Republican on the Banking Committee, who's been negotiating with Banking Chairman Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
RICHARD SHELBY: We have reached some assurances in that he has and his staff have made some recommendations that we like and we've made some they like. I think we made real progress on that. I know we have to seal - seal it on(ph). But I think that Senator Dodd is working in good faith on that.
CORNISH: Here's Senator Reid.
HARRY REID: Nothing has changed from our end since Monday.
CORNISH: And here's Senator McConnell.
MITCH MCCONNELL: Much has indeed changed since Monday.
CORNISH: Audie Cornish, NPR News, the Capitol.
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