WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday that Congress should periodically review all government programs, including the consumer protection laws the central bank enforces.
"If a law is sound, it will be repassable after a period of time," Mr. Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee. "It should not just go on unnoticed."
The comment came in response to a statement from Sen. Rod Grams, R- Minn., who advocated reviewing the Community Reinvestment, Home Mortgage Disclosure, and Truth-in-Savings acts.
Mr. Greenspan declined to cite specific programs, saying that was Congress's job.
Most of Mr. Greenspan's two hours before the committee focused on economic issues, including the pending budget battle.
Mr. Greenspan, in response to repeated questions, said lawmakers must not allow the government to default on its debt. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is using the threat of the default to get President Clinton to agree to deep spending cuts.
"The issue of default should not be on the table," Mr. Greenspan said. Lawmakers can reduce the deficit without resorting to a step that will increase the government's borrowing costs for years to come, he said.
"I am more optimistic of pulling this off without default then I have ever been," he said. "I do not get discouraged by the extent of some of the decibels that I am hearing, because if I didn't hear them I would be concerned this isn't real."
Mr. Greenspan said that the inflation picture is "looking more favorable" than earlier in the year, and that labor costs have remained modest despite the comparatively low unemployment rate.