Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott listed bankruptcy reform Monday among his top priorities for the rest of the year.
The Mississippi Republican said the Senate probably would begin considering the bill Friday. However, a Senate Republican leadership aide told reporters the bill's prospects will be jeopardized if Democrats carry out threats to attach a minimum wage hike to the bill or filibuster it.
Sen. Lott said he would seek a motion Friday to limit debate. If approved by 60 senators, votes on the bill could begin as early as Sept. 9. Otherwise, "it won't go anywhere," the Republican aide said.
The aide said the financial reform bill could run into trouble, too, unless a consensus develops quickly. The Senate has only five weeks left in the 1998 session and wants to avoid legislation that will require significant debate.
"We are not anywhere close to being able to have that done in a manageable amount of time," he said.
Nevertheless, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato reiterated the committee's plan to vote on the reform bill Thursday.
"Sen. D'Amato has worked wonders before; maybe he will be able to do it again," the aide said. "But it is a very difficult challenge to see how you could get that within a fairly narrow time frame if you look at what we have got to do this month."