they are less important than their counterparts on the other end of the Capitol. Occasionally, however, a House member may reveal a little Senate envy. Such was the case last week when Senate Banking Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato, opening a round of budget negotiations, addressed his House counterpart, Rep. Jim Leach, as "Senator Leach." Politely correcting him, Rep. Leach said he "appreciated the promotion." Unwilling to let Rep. Leach's concession slip by, Sen. Paul Sarbanes quipped from across the table, "We appreciate your perceiving it that way."
*** It's been six years since Jim Wright reigned as speaker of the House, but the Texas Democrat isn't surprised to see Congress still wrangling over whether to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act. "I find that a lot of the same things we were talking about when I was a student are still alive," he said. Congress, he said, is the last place he'd want to be right now, what with the Republicans - and particularly his old tormentor, Newt Gingrich - in charge. "I'm no longer involved in Congress, and thank God - I'd feel like a refugee," said Mr. Wright during a reception at the Credit Union National Association's annual convention late last month in Dallas. In his campaign to drive Mr. Wright from Congress, Rep. Gingrich used the former Speaker's defense of S&Ls against him. Mr. Wright hasn't forgotten that. "Obviously he's not my favorite person," he said. "I'd like someone else to be speaker and, if I had my druthers, I'd prefer to see a Democrat." Mr. Wright also has no apologies for his involvement in the S&L issue - he supported a $15 billion insurance fund rescue over the industry's protests. The problem in 1987, he maintains, was overly zealous regulators. "We would have been better off to allow a certain amount of amnesty for some of these situations," he says. "We could have saved the government some money."
*** Marking derivatives to market would bring "the fair value of those instruments out of the footnotes and into the balance sheet," asserts Michael H. Sutton, the Securities and Exchange Commission's new chief accountant. The Financial Accounting Standards Board is working on a proposal that would allow companies to mark either all derivatives or all financial instruments to market value. The American Bankers Association opposes the proposal, saying derivatives are too diverse and complex for a simple mark- to-market accounting approach. At a District of Columbia Bar luncheon, Mr. Sutton defended the FASB proposal by stressing the need for shareholders and customers to know the risks that banks and companies face.
*** James L. West's tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council ended with a warm farewell this month. The Native American, with long, wrapped braids, is president of Jim West Financial Group Inc., Tijeras, N.M. He presided over his final council meeting Nov. 2. His successor as chairman is Katharine W. McKee, associate director at the Center for Community Self-Help in Durham, N.C.