WASHINGTON - Rep. Bruce Vento, D-Minn., died Tuesday morning at his home in St. Paul after an eight-month battle with lung cancer. He was 60.

The senior House Banking Committee member announced in February that he had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, which he blamed on exposure to asbestos, and that he would not seek reelection. The 12-term congressman was known for his work on issues such as the environment, homelessness, and financial reform.

"Today our nation has lost a great leader in the Congress and a tireless champion of the poor and homeless," Rep. John J. LaFalce, the ranking Democrat on House Banking, said in a press statement. "Bruce Vento brought tremendous compassion, intellect, and vision to the work of writing the nation's laws."

Edward L. Yingling, chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, said Rep. Vento had been active in supporting the interstate banking law and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

"He was somebody who could work out from the middle and build a bipartisan consensus," Mr. Yingling said. "He played a very quiet but crucial role. He will be missed."

"Bruce Vento combined a profound sense of idealism with a practical, can-do approach to the legislative process," House Banking Chairman Jim Leach said in a press statement. "He will be much missed."

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