White House where President Clinton is expected to sign it this week.

An administration spokesman said it is "a good bet" that the President will sign the legislation before he leaves Saturday for an overseas trip, but an exact date has not been set. It remains unclear whether a public signing ceremony will be held.

Meanwhile, lawmakers continued to debate bankruptcy reform and other legislation affecting the banking industry during their mad dash to wrap up this year's work. If Republican leaders and the White House reach a budget accord soon enough, the House and Senate could adjourn as early as this evening.

The fate of the bankruptcy bill is uncertain, industry observers said. President Clinton on Tuesday threatened to veto the bill over an amendment that would phase in a $1 increase in the minimum wage over three years -- too slow for the administration's taste. And more than 300 amendments to the bill have been filed, many of which are Democratic proposals unrelated to bankruptcy.

Some observers said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott might be forced to postpone consideration of the bill until next year. Others said the Senate was moving slowly but surely and might have time to finish the legislation, especially if Congress is forced to stay in town to hash out the budget.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday that would authorize the use of electronic signatures in transactions and let lenders make disclosures electronically that are required by consumer protection laws. The financial services industry successfully lobbied for a bipartisan amendment, which won 418-2, adding consumer protections to improve the bill's chances. Among other things, the amendment would require lenders to have consumers sign a "conspicuous and visually separate" consent request before they can send mortgage or other disclosures electronically.

But the White House issued a statement opposing the bill, throwing its weight behind alternatives in the House and Senate that would authorize the use of digital signatures but drop the electronic disclosure provisions. The House defeated the alternative plan on a 278-126 vote. Industry lobbyists have said such a bill would be useless to financial services providers.

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