The heads of the House and Senate Banking committees met Monday to try to revive financial reform legislation.

House Banking Chairman Jim Leach sought the powwow with Senate Banking Chairman Phil Gramm to confront the procedural and political issues that have stalled the bill since a conference committee was convened in early August.

Sen. Gramm predicted last week that negotiations will linger into next year. After meeting with Rep. Leach, he issued an only slightly more upbeat statement. He blamed the delay on the White House, accusing the Clinton administration of refusing to settle its turf battle with the Federal Reserve Board over powers for direct bank subsidiaries.

"Both of us agreed to try to move forward," Sen. Gramm said, in a statement released by a spokeswoman. "I am confident that the Senate and House conferees are ready, and the Federal Reserve Board is ready. The missing party here is the administration.

"I am hoping, if we start to move, the administration will come along and get in the game."

Gary Gensler, the Treasury Department's under secretary for domestic finance, said the administration supports the House bill. "The House-passed bill demonstrates that a consensus can be reached among Congress, the administration, and industry."

Dean Anason

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