|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Wednesday, October 20, 1999||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following comments today after meeting with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and National Economic Advisor Gene Sperling about S. 900, the Financial Services Modernization Act:
"We had extensive discussions for seven hours straight, and we have a proposal on the table. It is a proposal, not an agreement. It is a proposal I can live with.
"The Treasury Secretary is going to have to go back and talk to his people and look at the proposal and basically decide whether the answer is yes or no.
"We have done a lot of good work. I hope we will have an agreement and have a bill. There are areas where the differences have been pretty substantial. Obviously one of those areas has been the sunshine amendment. We probably spent more time on it than any other provision.
"I am hopeful – prayerfully hopeful – that the administration will agree, and we can move ahead and approve this proposal.
"For my own part, I have made a very strong effort to reach an agreement. I have the highest respect for Larry Summers. The last thing I told him was that he made a good effort, and if it doesn't happen, I certainly have nothing but the highest praise for him.
"But the bottom line is that it's time now for us to write a bill. I believe that we have a proposal that totally satisfies every point that the administration has raised. This includes a provision that guarantees that nothing in the bill will overturn any part of existing CRA law, which was the first goalpost.
"I have been willing to compromise on the sunshine amendment to try to deal with their concerns, but in the end, I cannot accept an amendment that doesn't require reports on who gets money and what they do with it.
"How can you hold people accountable – how can their communities hold them accountable – if they don't know how much money they got and what they spent it on?
"I hope we will have an agreement. In the end, the administration has to decide if they want a bill or not. I want a bill. I've worked hard on this. Congressmen Leach and Bliley have worked hard. I believe this bill will be good for America.
"It may be that we have to wait fifteen months for a new administration to approve this bill. I don't want to do that. I will be disappointed if we have to do it, but I can live with it. In my mind there is no justification for the president to veto the bill, and I hope he won't."