It's over -- GOP agrees to drop filibuster of Dodd bank bill 

Senate Republicans emerged moments ago from a last-minute huddle over the financial regulatory reform bill and many of them say they are ready to vote to allow debate to begin on the bill.

"I believe it's time for us to move to the floor," Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said after the meeting. I think there is widespread belief on that within the Republican caucus it may even be unanimous."

Republicans say they have cut a deal with Democrats over tightening the language that concerning how the federal government could wind down failing financial institutions. Republicans say the rewrite will make it harder for the federal government to bail out these companies and force taxpayers to foot the bill.

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Republican moderates from Maine, said they will also vote to begin debate.

Republicans say they have been given assurances from Democratic leaders that they will be allowed to introduce amendments to the bill. Many in the GOP want to change the language regarding a new consumer protection agency so that it excludes small businesses. But for any amendment to pass, 60 votes are needed and Republicans control just 41 votes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was lukewarm in his acknowledgment that the Republicans are finally willing to stop blocking the bill.

"Senate Republicans have finally agreed to let us begin this debate, which we appreciate, and we hope this foreshadows more cooperation to come," Reid said in a statement.

Despite Alexander's assertions, not every Republican is ready to go along. At least two, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, of Georgia and Sen. Tom Coburn of South Dakota, said they will probably vote against the bill because they object to many of its provisions.

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