|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, September 30, 1999||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following comments today at the meeting of the Senate and House conferees on Financial Services Modernization:
"Next week, we will be drafting the markup document. I think it will take about a week. I intend to meet with every Democrat and every Republican on this side of the Capitol.
"My goal is to try to put together – working with Chairman Jim Leach of the House Banking Committee and Chairman Tom Bliley of the House Commerce Committee – the best consensus that we can put together.
"The check on our actions will be that we will have a period of time in the following week when people can offer amendments, so if we have not found the best consensus, then the conference will be capable of finding it for us.
"I do want to say that I intend to try to listen to everybody. I think we all know that successful legislation comes from compromise.
"Our goal is to try to put together a good package. I believe that we ought not to become preoccupied with who's going to happy with it or things like that. Our goal should be to put together the best bill we can write.
"I think it's extraordinary that we have decided on a process where we're going to put this markup document in front of the conference, and any member – Democrat or Republican – will have the ability to offer an amendment. And if that amendment is adopted by the conferees on the side of the Capitol of the member who offered the amendment, then it would go to the other side, and if they adopt it, it would become part of the bill.
"I think it is a check on those of us who are trying to put together the initial compromise. If we're wrong, and our efforts don't produce a consensus, then we'll be overturned by the conference. I can't think of a fairer way to do it.
"We discussed having two days of amendments, and at that point, have a final-passage vote, and if we have a sufficient vote, we sign the conference report and take it to the floor.
"We would potentially have a very short time for each house to vote on the bill, if we want to do it this year, and I think we all do. I'm going to do my best to make it work.
"I want this bill to become law. I wouldn't do all this work if I didn't plan to try to write the best bill that we can write and that the president can sign."