The House Commerce Committee is expected to approve financial reform legislation Thursday, teeing up a vote on the House floor before July 4.
Committee members are expected to fight about limits on unitary thrifts and privacy, but the panel is seen as likely to approve a bill closely resembling the version that sailed through its finance subcommittee May 27.
Industry lobbyists predict that committee Chairman Thomas J. Bliley Jr., R-Va., or an ally, will try to delete a subcommittee amendment added by Rep. Steve Largent, R-Okla., that would prevent commercial companies from buying grandfathered unitary thrifts.
A compromise on consumer privacy protection also faces challenges.
A spokesman for Rep. Edward J. Markey said the Massachusetts Democrat will reintroduce an amendment to require insurance and securities firms and banks to get permission from customers before disclosing information about them. Financial companies could share personal data among affiliates as long as customers are given the chance to block it, or "opt out."
Also, Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, the committee's ranking Democrat, is expected to reintroduce an amendment that would bar bank trust departments from charging brokerage commissions unless the institution conducts these activities through a broker-dealer regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But Rep. John J. LaFalce of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Banking Committee, said Monday that some changes already made by the Commerce subcommittee would turn President Clinton and financial services companies against the bill.
For instance, he said, the subcommittee undid a compromise in the House Banking version that would grant broader powers to direct subsidiaries of banks.
"I would hope that the Commerce Committee, as it proceeds, will be cognizant of the delicate balance the Banking Committee attempted to strike in developing this legislation," Rep. LaFalce said in prepared remarks to an Institute of International Bankers luncheon in New York. "Without a bipartisan product, Administration support, and broad industry consensus, we risk failing yet again."