WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to vote Nov. 15 on a controversial proposal that would bar accounting firms from selling consulting and other services to their audit clients.

The announcement came just days after lawmakers threatened to introduce legislation that would require the agency to wait six months before voting.

The proposal is opposed by several large accounting firms, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Independent Community Bankers of America. The latter says the plan would prevent small banks from using their independent auditors for internal audits and consulting services.

SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt said in a press statement that the agency has already held four days of public hearings and gotten more than 3,000 comment letters in response to the proposal. "I believe delay will not serve the interests of America's investors," he said. "Delay will not add to areas of agreement or resolve areas of difference."

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