CBSN

Seeking Shelby

 Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking GOP member of the Senate Banking Committee, was noticeably absent from the bipartisan press conference this afternoon when lawmakers announced progress on the $700 billion bailout plan.

The infamously tough negotiator also didn’t participate in the morning’s three hour-long session because he doesn’t support the “thrust” of the plan being pushed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, said Shelby spokeswoman Laura Henderson.

Instead, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) took to the podium and has become the top GOP negotiator in the Senate.

But Shelby will be on hand for this afternoon’s White House meeting.