Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd announced today that he is unable to reach a deal with Sen. Bob Corker and plans to introduce a bill next week on his own with the goal of pushing it through the committee along party lines if necessary before the Easter recess.
The Connecticut Democrat has been negotiating with Corker, a Tennessee Republican, for more than a month to try and craft a bipartisan compromise on regulatory reform and the two have said for weeks that they are close to a deal, with Corker saying Wednesday that a revised bill was "imminent."
But Dodd said in a statement Thursday that although "we have made significant progress and resolved many of the items" surrounding a bill, "a few outstanding issues remain."
Dodd said he plans a markup the week of March 22, and that his revised bill would reflect negotiations to date with Corker.
"My new proposal will reflect his input and the good work done by many of our colleagues as well," Dodd said. "Our talks will continue, and it is still our hope to come to agreement on a strong bill all of the Senate can be proud to support very soon."
Dodd and Corker have struggled in particular to find a solution that appeases both parties over consumer protection with a potential compromise to put a consumer division within the Federal Reserve Board has angered many liberal Democrats who have advocated for an independent agency. Negotiations have also been hurt by reports that Corker was seeking to carve out payday lenders and that nonbank lenders might escape a consumer division's purview.
Corker said Wednesday that the rumor was not true, but Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who joined the Tennessee lawmaker at a National Journal event, indicated the focus of the consumer division is on new rules, not a new enforcement regime for nonbanks.
Still, as Dodd has taken heat from the left that the consumer provisions were being watered down too much, Sen. Richard Shelby, the panel's top GOP member, and other Republicans have continued to press for prudential regulators to have more sway over consumer protection standards.
Ultimately, Dodd needs Republican support to get a bill out of the Senate and he is expected to announce plans to continue working with Corker and Republicans to come to a bipartisan agreement, even if he introduces his own bill.
For his part, Corker appears highly motivated to reach a deal, having gone out so far on a limb to work with Dodd that he has become alienated from many in his own party. Even if he and Dodd are at impasse now, Corker is expected to continue to stay involved in negotiations. Shelby, too, has continued to float ideas but has been less involved in the day-to-day discussions with Dodd and continues to work on drafting a Republican alternative.