Just as Democratic leaders did earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced his belief that a rescue package for Wall Street could come in the next few days, particularly since House Republicans finally appear to be engaging in bipartisan negotiations.
McConnell said a good deal of progress has been made since Thursday and that he has designated Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) to be the point man for Senate Republicans, since Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has asked that the leaders in each chamber appoint only one representative each for continuing negotiations.
Gregg has total authority for me and Senate Republicans to bring this package to closure, McConnell said.
Gregg said he was optimistic about finding a compromise that would pass both chambers overwhelmingly, but he said he did not believe a new discussion draft being floated by Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) was particularly useful.
It was written with a lot of agenda that had nothing to do with what we agreed on during a bipartisan negotiating session Thursday morning, Gregg said. Still, he predicted that bill language would be drafted in time for a mid-afternoon meeting with Paulson and other Members.
McConnell and Gregg also said they were encouraged that House GOP leaders were sending Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to the bipartisan negotiating table.