This afternoon the U.S. Senate will vote on a motion to proceed with the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulation since the Great Depression. It’s unclear if U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, the bill’s author, will have the 60 votes he needs to move forward with the debate.

In Hartford Monday morning after a train ride with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Dodd said “I’m a little mystified why we can’t even begin a debate.”

He said there may be partisan debates over various aspects of the bill, but not whether this issue should be debated.

Dodd has been trying to work out a bipartisan compromise on the bill with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who called Dodd this morning. Dodd said he’ll be meeting with Shelby again this afternoon when he returns to Washington.

“I think there’s a very strong likelihood we’re going to have a bipartisan bill,” Dodd said.

“Some 18 months ago we saw this country come to the brink of financial disaster. We the American taxpayers wrote a check for $700 billion to bailout a handful of financial institutions. If a crisis hit us again tomorrow we’re in no better different position than we were 18 months ago,” Dodd said. “This bill changes everything.”

“It does put us on a footing that would never allow us again to bail out institutions that fail,” Dodd said.

According to Politico, the cloture vote Monday failed by a vote of 57 to 41. Democrats will continue to call for a vote until they win Republican support.