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GOP Tensions Simmer Over CFPA

Ryan Grim

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (L) and ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby (R) listen to testimony at the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 23, 2009 file photo. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Tensions have been simmering between two top Republicans in the
Banking Committee since the senior member, Sen. Richard Shelby
(R-Ala.), backed out of talks with Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and a
junior member, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), stepped in to fill the

On Wednesday, the heat turned up a tad even as the two lawmakers
tried to work together -- Shelby emerged from the Senate floor and told
reporters that he, Corker and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) have made a new
proposal to Dodd on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Corker was in the spotlight earlier in the week due to his
compromise deal with Dodd that would put the CFPA in the Federal

"Senator Gregg, Senator Corker and I have made an offer to Senator
Dodd and I hope it's worthwhile," said Shelby. He wouldn't say what the
proposal was.

A reporter asked if it would be a new proposal.

"It'd be new," he said.

Corker then emerged from the Senate floor and was asked about Shelby's new proposal.

"I wouldn't carry it quite that far. There's been some tweaks
offered that I think are very good ones," he said, making sure to
downgrade the latest effort and keep the focus on the earlier one.
"Anyway, the last 12 to 14 hours has been very positive from my

Corker said the he expected a deal perhaps within the day or by the
end of the weekend. He added that he had dinner the night before with
Gregg and was meeting multiple times a day with Dodd, while still
talking with Shelby. A deal was "very, very close," he said.

Whether additional Republicans come on board isn't material to
whether he'll back the bill, he said. "I've made the point that I would
be the 60th vote if it were a really good bill," he said, but added
that if he supported it, he assumed that it would be good enough for a
number of other Republicans, too.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called
Corker's compromise a "joke" and said that it wouldn't pass the House

"It almost helps me to sell it. I say that with humor," responded Corker. "I love Barney."

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