House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has rejected a request from Democrats to hold new hearings on his Glass-Steagall reform bill, a member of the Iowa Republican's staff said Monday.

Frustrated by revisions to the bill made in recent months, Democrats on the committee asked for new hearings in a May 13 letter to Rep. Leach.

Though he didn't mention that request, Rep. Leach asked Democrats not to create roadblocks for his legislation in a May 15 memo. "I am hopeful that the bill can be considered on its merits in a nonpartisan context," he said.

But Democrats still have strong reservations about the legislation because bank and insurance industry groups have pushed through major changes.

"It's amazing that he's asking us to buy his legislation sight unseen," said a spokesman for a senior Democratic member. "What's worse, it's a piece of legislation that changes every 24 hours depending on which interest group demands a change."

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