WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Bob Corker said Tuesday he "absolutely cannot support" a bill written by Senate Democrats to overhaul financial regulations, clouding the outlook for a bipartisan measure.
"I couldn't support the bill in its current form," Mr. Corker said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I am absolutely not throwing in the towel. I have no plans to support the current legislation. I hope we'll get back to the negotiating table."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said "we are not going to compromise on what we believe represents a very strong piece of legislation."
Mr. Corker's comments were the latest twist in what has become a saga of dead ends and jump-starts.
Democrats, Republicans, and the White House have exchanged offers and counteroffers for months but talks have continually broken down.
Last week Mr. Corker, of Tennessee, said he expected the bill would pass, infuriating Republicans and many bank executives who thought he was making it easier for Democrats to push the bill through.
No Republican has yet signaled support for the bill and Mr. Corker's latest comments could reflect a new GOP resolve to oppose it unless changes are made.
Democrats need support from at least one Republican to pass the measure in the Senate.
The financial-overhaul bill, drafted mostly by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., would rewrite financial regulations by creating a new consumer-protection division within the Federal Reserve, give the Fed new powers to oversee large financial companies, tighten scrutiny of derivatives and give the government the power to break up failing financial companies.
Republicans have said they also want to rewrite the rules, but many have said the Democrats' plan, particularly related to consumer-protection, goes too far and would cut off access to credit.
The Senate Banking Committee voted along party lines March 22 to move the bill to the Senate floor, where a vote could come in April or May. Democrats have said privately they think it will be hard for some Republicans to vote against new banking rules during an election year. Mr. Corker said he hoped "the administration will not put pressure on the schedule and dare the Senate to vote on the bill."
Mr. Dodd has said he is still open to a bipartisan deal. In the interview, Mr. Corker said he felt Republicans would want to support legislation reworking regulations but not necessarily the Dodd bill. "What we all need to do is work hard to get it back in the middle of the road," he said.
Mr. Gibbs said the principles for new rules outlined by President Barak Obama were "nonnegotiable with the president" and "nonnegotiable with the American people."