Washington (CNN) – After Senate Democrats' second consecutive failed attempt Tuesday to take up a financial regulatory reform bill, a moderate Republican from Ohio indicated for the first time that he is planning to switch his vote and support opening debate on the bill if a deal isn't reached soon between the top negotiators for each party.
The American people "want us to get something done," Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said in explaining why he would eventually join Democrats in insisting that the bill be debated on the floor.
Voinovich, who is not seeking re-election in November, would not say exactly how long he would wait before switching his vote but said, "I have an idea of how much time it takes to cut a deal." He also said he expects "a whole bunch" of other Republicans to make the same decision.
So, how are the talks going?
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, a Banking Committee member who at one point was the lead GOP negotiator on the bill, said Tuesday he is "far less optimistic" that the top negotiators, Democrat Chris Dodd and Republican Richard Shelby, will cut a deal anytime soon.
"I just know where they are policy-wise and I just don't' see it," said Corker. "I don't think anytime in the near future there's going to be a bipartisan agreement."
Corker, who last week described himself as "relatively depressed" about the course of the talks, refused to detail why he thinks the negotiations will not be fruitful or which side he thinks is to blame.
Despite the negative prognosis from his colleague, Sen. Shelby, R-Alabama, emerged from Tuesday's vote to say he was off to another meeting with Dodd. Publically, Shelby has been upbeat, suggesting talks are making progress. But he has never detailed how close he and Dodd might be to a deal.
Asked if Dodd is offering any flexibility on the issue of creating a consumer watchdog agency – something Republican leaders identified Tuesday as their top concern - Shelby said no.
"They've been pretty steadfast in their view of the consumer agency," Shelby said. "We think we have some constructive recommendations."
But Dodd questioned Republicans' sincerity.
"They don't want a consumer protection agency at all. Let's be honest about it," the Connecticut Democrat said.