WASHINGTON - Three Senate Banking Committee members have called for additional study of a controversial plan to eliminate pooling-of-interests accounting for mergers, adding to growing opposition that may eventually delay the proposal.

Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah, asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt in a letter Monday to conduct a "thorough" economic analysis of a Financial Accounting Standards Board proposal that would ban pooling in favor of purchase accounting. The senators said the plan would have a "chilling" effect on both merger activity and burgeoning knowledge-based companies.

"We feel that FASB has been unresponsive to our concerns," according to the letter, which was released Tuesday. "In fact, despite public and private assurances from Chairman [Edmund L.] Jenkins that he would consider all reasonable alternatives before moving forward with elimination of pooling accounting, FASB has given no indication that they are seriously evaluating those proposals."

House Commerce Chairman Thomas J. Bliley Jr. made a similar request to the SEC and FASB in March. Last week Mr. Jenkins told the House Commerce Committee he would move ahead on the project, despite promises that all information would be considered before a final decision is made. His comments angered House Republicans, who threatened legislation to delay the plan.

FASB's next meeting on the issue is slated for May 17, with a final decision on the proposal expected by yearend.

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