WASHINGTON - House Republicans on Wednesday blocked an amendment by one of their own that called for repeal of the Community Reinvestment Act.

As a House Banking subcommittee took up regulatory relief legislation, Rep. Toby Roth, R-Wis., argued that the CRA imposed "horrendous costs to consumers and all parties concerned ... with no visible results."

The Roth amendment prompted outrage from some Democrats, and less heated opposition from Republicans.

"There are some parts of the country that need an effective CRA, and I believe this bill provides for that," said Rep. Doug Bereuter, who introduced the regulatory relief bill.

The Nebraska Republican's bill would give CRA exemptions to institutions that have assets of less than $100 million and are located in towns of under 30,000 people.

The administration, which opposes the legislation, nonetheless scored a small victory when the panel approved an amendment cosponsored by Rep. Bereuter that retains the 18-month examination cycle of small banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

During hearings last month, bank regulators criticized a provision originally in the Bereuter bill that would have allowed such examinations only every two years.

The subcommittee was expected to approve the Bereuter bill by yesterday evening. The full House Banking Committee is expected to take up the measure early next week.

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