|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, October 14, 1999||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following opening statement today at the conference mark-up of Financial Services Modernization:
"America has been waiting 50 years for this bill, so I am going to be brief.
"Anyone who looks at the chairmen's mark will immediately see two things. One, there was a conscious effort not to go outside the scope of this conference. We thought it was important to have a bill that would stay inside the scope of the conference. I think members will find that, except for a few provisions related to the Federal Home Loan Bank System, where the provisions of this bill would dramatically change the operation of the Federal Home Loan Bank System. We did take a few steps to reign in the Federal Housing Finance Board in terms of actions they are taking that are opposed by the Treasury and where there is strong bi-partisan concern.
"Other than that, I am not aware of any major, or really any minor, provision outside the scope of the two bills. I think all of us recognize that if you want a bill it means compromise. As Chairman Bliley said the other day when we presented the chairmen's mark, nobody ever gets all of what they want. You end up with compromise.
"I think again if people will look at the bill, they will see that there is a good faith effort in the bill to reach a compromise on numerous issues. There clearly was a compromise on CRA. Secretary Summers has said, and I quote, ‘The President will only support financial modernization that maintains the relevance of CRA. He will not permit it to be scaled back.' I would submit that anyone who reads the provisions of this bill will see that in fact the bill does meet that test. We have left a very tough issue, the unitary thrift issue, to be settled as a jump ball, but with the agreement, at least on the part of the three chairmen, that whatever happens on that issue, we are going to move ahead and pass this bill.
"I think that this is a bill, a mark-up document, where the more you look at it, the more knowledgeable you are about its content, and the content of current law, the better it is going to look.
"I want to thank Chairman Bliley, and I want to thank Chairman Leach. This has been a very difficult task but to do this work, it is worthy of our best efforts, and I think we have given our best efforts to it. Obviously, we are here today to finish the job, improve the product if we can and move ahead if we can't."