Criticizing Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan is like criticizing Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan. That's according to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato, anyway.
"Saying 'let's not confirm Mr. Greenspan because economic growth hasn't been fast enough' would be like saying the Chicago Bulls should not re-sign Michael Jordan because the Bull's didn't beat Seattle fast enough," said the New York Republican.
That's a big change from four years ago, when the New York Republican was the loan Banking Committee member to vote against Mr. Greenspan's second term.
Sen. D'Amato made his comments June 20, shortly before the Senate voted 91-7 to confirm Mr. Greenspan for a third four-year term.
Although they have been at odds over financial modernization bills for a year, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach and Rules Committee Chairman Gerald Solomon have kept their communiques cordial.
Not any more, according to industry lobbyists.
After Rep. Solomon made it clear he would block Rep. Leach's effort to pass a stripped-down version of his package of Glass-Steagall repeal and regulatory relief - without a moratorium on the Comptroller of the Currency's ability to grant new insurance powers - things apparently got ugly.
In a June 13 round of letters, the lawmakers complained about each other's actions in "vituperative" language, sources said. The exchange has lobbyists talking, but no one contacted by American Banker claimed to have seen the missives.
A House Banking staff member confirmed that the letters use "strong and direct" language but denied that the tone was harsh. Neither lawmaker released the letters publicly.
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is leaving the Banking Committee eight months after rejoining it.
He's not bored with the committee, aides said. He just wanted to make way for new Kansas Sen. Sheila Frahm, who asked to join it.
Sen. Frahm on June 11 took over the Senate seat vacated by presidential hopeful Bob Dole.
Sen. Domenici moved in to the open seat on the government affairs committee vacated by Mr. Dole.
Rep. Edward Markey, a member of the Commerce Committee, couldn't resist gloating over its success at passing a sweeping securities bill.
Speaking June 18 on the House floor, the Massachusetts Democrat praised his panel and took a swipe at the House Banking Committee, which has been unable to move reform and regulatory relief bills. "Comprehensive financial modernization, as some of our colleagues are painfully aware, can be tauntingly elusive."
Robert E. Showfety, president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, is calling it quits after 40 years at the bank.
Mr. Showfety, who's been president since 1988, will be leaving Jan. 1.
His successor will be Paul D. Hill, the bank's executive vice president and chief operating officer.