Shelby says GOP will block financial reform bill -- for now 

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told a group of community bankers Monday he believes Republicans will be able to block a sweeping financial regulatory reform bill Democrats are hoping to begin debating tonight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has scheduled a 5 p.m. vote and unless Democrats and Republicans can strike a last-minute deal, the bill will likely be blocked.

"I believe that 41 Republicans right now are going to stand together," Shelby said in a speech he delivered to the Independent Community Bankers of America Monday.

Shelby hinted that the GOP is only willing to block the bill for so long and that eventually, moderate Republicans would peel off and back the bill at a later point. According to top Senate Democrats, moderate Republicans have promised McConnell one "no" vote on proceeding to the reform bill, which could make it harder for the GOP to win any major concessions.

"I wish we'd stand together, period," Shelby lamented in his speech. "It would make us stronger and give us more negotiating authority and more clout."

Shelby said Republicans want to further tighten the language of the bill to ensure that the government can no longer bail out banks.

"It's going to be a fight," Shelby admitted.

While Senate Democratic leaders have threatened to pull the plug on the bill if Republicans vote against it Monday night, new polling showing strong public support for financial reform all but assures the two sides will come up with some kind of compromise in the coming days.

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