WASHINGTON Lawmakers and administration officials remained locked in complex negotiations Thursday over a bill that would assure the legal enforceability of swaps contracts, but House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey assured reporters that it would likely pass the House by early next week.
The swaps agreement is part of the larger Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which, among other things, would end an 18-year ban on futures contracts based on a single companys stock by repealing the Shad-Johnson Accord.
The negotiations are currently focused on two issues: establishing the tax treatment of single-stock futures, and assuring that swaps contracts will not be subject to regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
One of the three versions of the bill that cleared House committees protected swaps from CFTC regulation, but Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm has said that, in order to pass the Senate, SEC regulation of swaps will have to be explicitly barred as well.
Rep. Armey said both issues are in the process of being resolved. We will get it done, he said.
Meanwhile, the future of a measure to reform bankruptcy laws does not look quite as rosy.
Asked if the House leadership planned to call the bankruptcy bill up for a vote, Rep. Armey replied: First chance we get. The problem, he said, is finding a bill to attach it to that is sufficiently popular to carry it past opponents in the Senate.
The whole question is how can we get it through the parliamentary maze in the Senate, he said. We have some fairly strong-willed senators there who dont want it.