Overcoming last-minute controversies, the House-Senate conference committee on financial reform approved the historic bill Tuesday.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill today or tomorrow provided no opponents raise procedural objections. The bill is expected to be approved, but debate could last as long as five hours.

A House vote is also scheduled for today. The Rules Committee was expected to meet late Tuesday to officially approve the bill and set procedural terms for the vote.

Adding to the momentum, Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers and National Economic Council Director Gene B. Sperling told lawmakers in a letter Tuesday, "The President... looks forward to signing this important legislation."

Industry supporters were ecstatic.

"Everything is a go," said Edward L. Yingling, chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association. "They will get to it. It is just a question of when. The votes are clearly there to pass overwhelmingly in both bodies."

Thirty-eight of the 46 House members of the conference committee signed the bill. Among those who refused were three leading Democrats: Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee, and Reps. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and John Conyers Jr. of Michigan. Rep. Richard H. Baker, R-La., was the only Republican who refused to sign.

Only two of the 20 Senate conferees declined to sign. They were Sens. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., and Richard H. Bryan, D-Nev., who criticized the bill's privacy provisions as too weak. -- Dean Anason

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