McConnell maintained that the three-times-over Republican block of the bill gave them enough time to get important assurances from Dodd. He even praised Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), who voted with Republicans to block the legislation, by name.
"The time afforded by my Republican colleagues and Sen. Ben Nelson was instrumental in gaining assurances from the Chairman that changes will be made to end taxpayer bailouts and the dangerous notion that certain financial institutions are too big to fail."
It remains to be seen exactly what has changed in the bill. Usually, something that Republicans agree to is not a good sign, but it is still best to reserve judgment.
Republicans are making some big rhetorical and optical concessions by relenting. Their main attack against this bill has been that is institutionalizes bailouts, but McConnell and Shelby are now dropping that line. Additionally,, the timing of their announcement that debate will go forward--during a flurry of Democratic pressure over repeated votes and the prospect of an all-night sessions--makes it look like they are caving to Senate Democratic pressure.
The debate and amendment phase of Wall Street reform will now begin. All told, it should take about two weeks. The bill will either pass, or be defeated, by the middle of May. If it passes, the next big, final step, will be a conference committee between the House and the Senate.