Despite the Senate's 88-to-11 vote Wednesday to keep going, the prospects for financial services reform legislation dimmed further yesterday.
Efforts by Republican Sens. Phil Gramm of Texas and Richard C. Shelby of Alabama to prevent a final vote before Congress adjourns this weekend appear to have succeeded, several lawmakers and industry sources said.
"You've got Gramm and Shelby so dug in on this," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., "I don't see how you make this thing a go with two or three days left."
Chances of making a deal with the two Republican senators-who oppose provisions in the bill that they say would expand the Community Reinvestment Act-seemed remote. "There is going to be no compromise," vowed Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., who defends the CRA-related measures in the legislation.
Philmore B. Anderson, vice president of federal relations for the American Council of Life Insurance, said supporters are making a "full- court press" to get the legislation attached to a must-pass spending bill instead. But Sen. Hagel and other observers said that plan is unrealistic, because the Clinton administration opposes the reform bill and would probably veto any legislation that includes it.
Still, Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle remained upbeat. "It's not dead," he told reporters at a news conference. "I think that there is still an opportunity to keep it alive ... This is the best chance we are going to have for a bipartisan consensus on financial reorganization."