WASHINGTON -- The Senate Banking Committee on Friday postponed the confirmation hearing of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan until after Thanksgiving, and possibly until next year.

If Congress does not adjourn this week, Deborah DeYoung, a committee spokeswoman, said, the hearing may be held in December.

But if Congress leaves town for the year this week, the hearing may not be held until it returns in January, she said.

The Fed chairman was originally scheduled to appear before the banking panel for confirmation last Tuesday, but Sen. Donald Riegle, D-Mich., the committee chairman, delayed the hearing until after the Senate finished debating the bank rescue legislation that finally passed the Senate Thursday night.

Ms. DeYoung said the hearing had to be postponed again because Sen. Riegle and other committee members now must meet with House members to negotiate a final version of the bank reform bill.

She also said the confirmation hearing is not needed immediately because Mr. Greenspan has a recess appointment, meaning he was named by President Bush when Congress was in recess and therefore can continue serving as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board until the end of 1992.

His 14-year term as member of the Board of Governors expires on Jan. 31, but he is entitled to remain in the position beyond that date until the Senate acts on his nomination. The President has asked the Senate to reconfirm Mr. Greenspan for another four-year term as chairman of the Fed and to give him another full 14-year term as governor, beginning Feb. 1, 1992.

Fed spokesman Joseph Coyne said Mr. Greenspan has repeatedly sought to appear before the banking committee.

"The chairman wanted a hearing before Congress went out in August, and when they came back in September he wanted a hearing," said Mr. Coyne. Asked whether Mr. Greenspan wanted to delay his testimony this week because financial markets were unsettled following the stock market drop, Mr. Coyne said, "absolutely not."

Mr. Greenspan has not testified before Congress since July 16.

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