WASHINGTON -The House Agriculture Committee passed by voice vote Tuesday legislation that would exclude swap agreements and other over-the-counter derivatives from federal regulation.

The provision is part of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that also would repeal the prohibition on single stock futures and allows sophisticated investors to trade these derivatives electronically without oversight.

Banking industry officials welcomed the vote because they worry that regulation could invalidate existing contracts and, ultimately, push swaps trading overseas.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Tom Ewing, R-Ill., in early June. It still has to pass through the House Banking and Commerce committees before the full chamber may vote on it. House Banking Chairman Jim Leach plans to hold a hearing on the legislation in mid-July, his spokesman said.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to vote Thursday on similar legislation proposed by Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm.

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