One of the president's top economic advisers predicted on Sunday that financial regulatory reform would end up passing with bipartisan support in Congress -- a sentiment not shared by all Senate Democrats.
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Dr. Christina Romer, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, argued that Republicans -- long averse to working across the aisle -- would end up feeling an imperative to support legislation that re-writes the rules of Wall Street. Would the regulatory reform bill end up being bipartisan?
"Yes I think it will. I think it has to be," she said. "I think people from both parties realize we do need some sensible rules for the road, because we don't ever want to go through this again. And I think we are very confident that we will be able to pick up some Republican support."
Romer's remarks are, to a certain extent, drawn from a number of recent statements from Republican senators expressing both support for various components of the regulatory reform bill and recognition that the legislation will likely pass. But the forecast of forthcoming bipartisanship does seem a bit rosy when placed against other reports. Appearing on Fox News earlier in the day, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) scoffed at the idea that any Republican would cross the aisle to give the president a victory on the regulatory reform front.
"I do not [expect a GOP vote]," he said. "Only one Republican, Senator Corker would step forward and negotiate with [Senate Banking Committee Chair] Chris Dodd. ... Really, efforts were made, if [only] the Republicans would cooperate and participate."
Specter was addressing a remark made earlier by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) who had suggested that there would be a chance to forge consensus on regulatory reform even with Republican opposition to the president's agenda. Was the well dry on bipartisan cooperation?
"Not at all," Kyl said. "And I think the comments that were made there represented frustration on our part that essentially Democrats were doing it all by themselves, stiffing Republicans, and obviously that doesn't promote cooperation."
The Arizona Republican would go on to urge Senate Democrats to forge a "broad middle coalition" to pass financial reform legislation -- on which, he said, "there is an opportunity to work together."
"I think Senator Kyl paints a rosier picture about the prospects for bipartisan support than there is," Specter replied.