WASHINGTON - The House Banking Committee has been given jurisdiction over legislation passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee that would strengthen federal regulation of the government securities market, House aides said yesterday.
The banking committee is expected to decide soon, perhaps this week, on how it wishes to deal with the bill. The panel, chaired by Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-Texas, has been seeking referral of the bill for some time.
The Energy and Commerce Committee, in an agreement worked out with the Ways and Means Committee, sent the bill to the floor for a vote by the full House on Friday.
Aides said the banking committee has until Aug. 7 to review the legislation. One option being considered is adding on controversial legislation backed by Mr. Gonzalez that would require the Federal Reserve to automate government bond auctions.
The Gonzalez bill is opposed by the Fed and the Treasury Department, which argue they are already moving ahead with modernization of government auction procedures. Any move to tack the Gonzalez bill on to the Energy and Commerce bill would make the legislation more controversial and possibly delay a vote in the House, aides said.
Backers of the bill, notably Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., hope to get a House vote before Congress recesses Aug. 13.
A banking committee aide said that even if Mr. Gonzalez does not pursue the bill in his committee, he or some other member could object to Mr. Markey's plan to expedite the bill's passage by putting it on the suspension calendar.