From NBC's Doug Adams
Five prominent Republicans came to the Senate press gallery today to say they're "optimistic" about getting a financial reform bill they can support.
Sen. Richard Shelby said he was "more optimistic than I've ever been" and Sen. Saxby Chambliss said they have "90 percent agreement" with Democrats. "We've narrowed it down to a limited number of areas where we disagree. And we're going to work very hard to see if we can try to bridge the gap between the two of us."
The two senators -- joined by Kay Bailey Hutchison and Orrin Hatch -- said both parties agreed on the major goals, including preventing companies from getting "too big to fail." As Hutchison put it "We are pretty close. We have the same goal - we want too big to fail to go away. ... Having the populist democrats and the free market Republicans come together and say "too big to fail is wrong" is a step in the right direction."
Responding to criticism that Republicans are defending Wall Street bankers' interests, Shelby strongly disagreed, adding "We don't represent Wall Street. Nobody does! I don't think the Democrats represent Wall Street. Altho they get a lot more MONEY than we do. ... I can tell ya -- Wall Street ain't gonna be writing THIS bill!"
Shelby also said the Goldman Sachs charges have "certainly put some fuel on the fire" in terms of getting the financial reform legislation passed soon.