WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – The top Republican on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee said on Friday there is common ground with Democrats on financial regulation legislation but the White House stance on consumer protection remains an obstacle.

“There’s a lot of common ground here. This really isn’t a partisan issue. This is an extremely complex exercise in getting governance right and the only really big philosophical difference here is how you protect consumers,” Senator Judd Gregg said in an interview with CNBC.

Judd was speaking a day after Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, said he was discussing legislation with Senator Bob Corker, a first-term Republican member of the panel.

Just six days earlier, Dodd said he had hit an impasse with Senator Richard Shelby, the committee’s top Republican, in talks that had dragged on for more than a year over tightening oversight of banks and capital markets.

President Barack Obama has made financial regulation a top priority for 2010, as have governments in the European Union, which are also hammering out new rules meant to prevent a recurrence of the recent global financial crisis. (Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Philip Barbara) ((david.morgan@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 898 8326; RM: david.morgan.reuters.com@reuters.net))