bill on Thursday that would eliminate the federal thrift charter and abolish the Office of Thrift Supervision. The bill, which mirrors legislation drafted by the House Banking Committee, would require federal thrifts to convert to national banks or state-chartered thrifts by Jan. 1, 1998. "Serious problems continue to plague our nation's thrift industry," Sen. D'Amato said. "We must act now before our nation's taxpayers are asked to pay for another bailout of the thrift industry." By introducing the bill, Sen. D'Amato made good on his promise to the House Banking Committee that he would begin efforts to eliminate the thrift charter this year. "This comprehensive charter merger will meet the needs of consumers and the business investment community. It will protect the safety and soundness of our nation's banking system," said Rep. Marge Roukema, R-N.J., chairwoman of the subcommittee that drafted the House bill. Sen. D'Amato also took up the fight this week to preserve the so-called "Frist amendment." That provision, sponsored by Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and attached to the sweeping budget bill Congress is hurrying to complete this week, would make a merger of the bank and thrift insurance funds contingent on eliminating the thrift charter. The amendment, backed by the banking industry, came under fire this week when the Senate Budget Committee argued it violates Senate rules restricting provisions unrelated to the deficit from budget bills.

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