None of the alternatives, meanwhile, appear acceptable to consumer groups. Travis Plunkett, the legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America, said even Dodd's suggestion to put a bureau into the Treasury was too soft. "We're very troubled by it. The main concern overall we thought it compromised the autonomy of consumer protection," Plunkett said.
Still, several observers said lawmakers do not appear that far apart, and predicted a deal could be struck.
"In my experience when you get at this point in Washington, D.C., where everyone is saying 'we need a bill' you find a way to compromise," said William Longbrake, an executive in residence at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.