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Congress: Getting close

"Key members of both parties said Wednesday that they are close to agreeing on the main elements of a bill to overhaul the nation's financial regulations, raising the prospect that the Senate could begin formal discussion of the landmark legislation early next week," the Washington Post front-pages. "'I'm more optimistic than I've ever been,' said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), the lead Republican negotiator. 'I think we can put a bill together pretty soon.' His counterpart in months of talks, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the banking committee, agreed that they were on the cusp of a consensus."

The New York Times: "Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, voted with Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee in favor of imposing tougher rules for derivatives, the complex securities that were at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis. The Agriculture Committee, which deals with derivatives because it oversees commodities futures trading, voted 13 to 8 to approve the bill, which was sponsored by Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, the panel's chairwoman. The bill is expected to be part of the wider regulatory overhaul put forward by the banking committee, though Democrats are still figuring out how to combine the proposals."

Roll Call adds, "Democratic and Republican Senators appeared to be closing in on a financial regulatory reform deal Wednesday, but Democrats said that regardless of the outcome of talks, they are confident they have Republicans on the run and are in a position to force the bill to the floor next week."