NEW YORK - Sen Al Gore of Tennessee, the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee, appears to share the views of his party's standard-bearer on issues involving banking and small business.
Like Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, Sen. Gore appears more likely to come down on the side of small businesses and small institutions than large ones. And like his party's presidential nominee-in-waiting, he wants to use the government to redirect corporate behavior on such issues as whether banks should cash government checks.
Backed Metzenbaum's Banking Package
In votes last year, Sen. Gore twice supported Sen. Howard Metzenbaum's package of consumer amendments that would have required banks to cash government checks for people without accounts.
On a third major issue, he joined with a huge majority of the Senate in approving Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato's bid to cap credit card rates. That amendment passed by such a wide margin, however, that it was regarded by bank lobbyists as a "throwaway" vote that may not reflect Sen. Gore's real views.
Peter Blocklin, who lobbies the Senate for the American Bankers Association, said Sen. Gore "has not generally been good support of the industry."
The senator's strong stance on protecting the environment would probably lead him to oppose limits on lender liability, Mr. Blocklin added. The ABA has been pushing hard for legislation that would limit bank liability for the environmental damage to properties on which their only role was that of lender.
IBAA Counts Gore as a Friend
The Tennessee senator got a warmer assessment from lobbyists at the Independent Bankers Association of America, which represents small institutions.
"He pretty much sided with us on the branching issue, in favor of a strong role for states," said Gary Kohn, an IBAA lobbyists. "He was very leery of interstate." In meetings with community bankers from Tennessee, Mr. Kohn said, Gen Gore "saw the benefit of maintaining existing levels of deposit insurance."