"Mr. President, let me just take a moment at this time, if the Senator would allow me.
"When the history is written of this session of Congress, it will probably identify this piece of legislation as the single biggest achievement. I have heard this financial services modernization issue discussed for my entire career in the Congress, which is now up to 27 years. It has been tried by Republicans, by Democrats in the Congress, House and Senate, administrations of both parties. It never quite occurred.
"I think it is appropriate we commend all of those who have been involved in this process for bringing us to this moment. This legislation is going to pass overwhelmingly. It is going to bring us into the modern era of financial services. It is going to allow us to be more equally competitive around the world.
"I think we should properly note what has happened. If today's papers are any indication, we passed major trade legislation yesterday and it didn't even make the first section of one of the papers in this city; it wound up in the business section. It was hardly noted, the effort that was put into passing that major free trade legislation. I hope that will not be the case with this major legislation.
"So for all those involved--I won't begin at the top and go to the bottom--obviously Secretary Rubin was involved in earlier discussions; Alan Greenspan was involved; Secretary Summers has been involved. The administration did stay engaged when they could have said we are not going to talk anymore. Leaders in both the House and the Senate, the elected leadership, Democrats and Republicans on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol worked to make this happen.
"Let me say for the record--I know, because I watched it very carefully and had some meetings which, I think, helped give it some momentum, some impetus--it would not be where it is today, it would not have been achieved, without the leadership of the senior Senator from Texas, Mr. Gramm. He has done a masterful job. Many people said: It won't happen. Many people said: He will kill it. I kept saying: No; you wait. He will make this happen through thick or thin. It will get done.
"It is being done. To take nothing away from all those involved--including the ranking member of the committee, Senator Sarbanes of Maryland, who was actively involved--I have to note, with a lot of appreciation and gratitude, the tremendous leadership of the Senator from Texas. I don't think he can probably ever replicate this effort again. So I think that at this time we should express our appreciation because it is a monumental achievement."