The reaction on Capitol Hill to passage of the financial reform bill last week ranged from revelry to morbid humor.
To mark the historic occasion, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach played host to a group of his closest collaborators on the bill, including Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, Comptroller of the Currency John D. Hawke Jr., Treasury Under Secretary Gary Gensler, and Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-N.Y. They joined staff members, lobbyists, and reporters in drinking champagne and devouring a large cake, which bore an epitaph for the Depression-era separation of commercial and investment banking that the bill undoes. It read: " Glass-Steagall, R.I.P., 1933-1999."
In explaining how the bill would benefit consumers, Sen. Charles E. Schumer told a press conference that his friends at an Irish pub in Brooklyn rarely ask him, "Hey, Charlie, what's new with Glass-Steagall?"
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm responded: "You can tell them that Glass-Steagall died."
To which Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. added: "They are going to be upset they didn't go to the wake."
Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg was named chairman of the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute last week. The chairman and chief executive officer of American International Group succeeds Robert W. Galvin, chairman of Motorola Inc.'s executive committee. The institute educates lawmakers and their staff members on economic issues including taxes, trade, and financial services.
Robert D. Reischauer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is to become president of the Urban Institute on Feb. 1, taking the reins from William Gorham, who has led the group since its founding in 1968. Before joining Brookings in 1995, Mr. Reischauer directed the Congressional Budget Office for six years. From 1981 to 1986 he was a senior vice president at the Urban Institute, which researches tax reform and other issues.