Conferees on Hill Seek Agreement On Banking Bill
WASHINGTON - As the dust settled from Thursday night's votes on major bank legislation, negotiators began the laborious task of reconciling the starkly different approaches to bank reform taken by the House and Senate.
Both measures would provide at least $70 billion for the ailing Bank Insurance Fund with insurance system reforms, including requirements that regulators move promptly to close failing institutions.
But the Senate went far beyond the House by calling for interstate branching within three years, imposing new restrictions on bank insurance activities, and mandating a floating ceiling on credit card rates.
In addition, the Senate bill tackled a number of unrelated issues, from lender liability to a measure dealing with Trans World Airlines' pension plan. As a result, a large number of House committees would be required to participate in the discussions over the bill.
Slight Delay Likely
While it was possible that the House and Senate leadership would pave the way for a quick agreement on the bill over the weekend, it appeared late Friday that lawmakers would not be ready to deal with the bills before today.
The House, which voted three times on increasingly narrow versions of the bill before finding a formula that members would accept, was reluctant to even begin talks with the Senate on that body's broader legislative package. And a number of House members were warning that it was unlikely they would accept a package with interstate branching.
Although the House approved an amendment on interstate branching by a wide margin at one point in the process, the bill it ultimately passed did not include that provision. And the Senate bill was adopted on a quick voice vote Thursday evening, which House members said would not carry as much weight in a conference as their own roll call vote.