WASHINGTON - The House on Tuesday easily approved a revised package of banking and housing measures that is expected to garner more Senate support than the previous version.
The bipartisan legislation, which closely resembles a version the House passed in October, was redrafted without several controversial items that had stalled it in the Senate. One of the removed provisions would have established low-cost FHA mortgages for municipal employees. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm had objected to these loans as government favoritism.
After the House passed the latest bill by voice vote, a spokeswoman for Sen. Gramm said the legislation is "a good package and we hope to get unanimous consent to pass it through the Senate."
The legislation includes about 20 regulatory relief provisions for banks and thrifts, including one that would repeal the requirement that thrifts keep 4% to 10% of their assets liquid. The package also would provide more flexibility for electing national bank directors, by allowing staggered terms of up to three years.
Additionally, the legislation would extend a deadline for new capital rules at the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks by six months, to May 2001.
Other provisions would reinstate 45 federal banking and housing regulatory reports to Congress, including the Federal Reserve Board's annual survey of bank fees. The Fed chairman would be required to testify on the state of the economy at least twice a year, once before the House Banking Committee and once before the Senate Banking Committee.
The legislation also would raise the salaries of Fed officials. The chairman's annual salary would rise $15,700, to $157,000.
Separately, sources close to Democratic leaders said they do not expect Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton to be assigned to the Banking Committee, nor do they expect Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to move from the Banking to the Finance Committee.
Given Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle's recent announcement that he wants to serve on Finance, and the conventional wisdom that the all-male committee would favor females or more-senior lawmakers ahead of Sen. Schumer, Sen. Schumer is expected to stay put, the sources said.
Sen.-elect Clinton is more likely to get her preferred committee assignments, which reportedly are Appropriations and Foreign Relations.