WASHINGTON -- Rep. Ron Wyden is seeking President Clinton's support for a plan to combine regulation of the futures and securities markets under one agency.

In a Nov. 21 letter to the president, the Oregon Democrat said he plans to introduce legislation on the first day of the next Congress to combine regulation now handled by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

"I believe it is time to set in place a regulatory system that works for the 21st century," said Wyden, who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the panel's telecommunications and finance subcommittee.

"The new entity created by my bill would merge the functions of the SEC, the CFTC and the authority of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to set margins on securities."

The lawmaker said his bill would end the tuff battles between agencies and the participants in the markets. "It would close the regulatory gaps which threaten the security of our markets and set the stage for a new era of cooperation and coordination in financial markets," he said.

Wyden asked that Clinton support his effort and include it in his budget proposal to be sent to Congress early next year.

"In the days ahead, billions of dollars will be moved back and forth between the securities markets and the futures markets," he said. "I would like to work with your Administration to ensure that such oversight promotes efficient markets and investor confidence."

Wyden was a sponsor of similar legislation that was introduced by Rep. Dan Glickman, D-Kan., which died in the last Congress. Glickman lost to Republican Todd Tiahrt in the most recent election.

A Wyden aide said passage of the legislation may be more likely in a Republican-controlled Congress. 'The idea has come of age," she said. "Now that the Republicans have control, they're going to look for streamlining."

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