Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Looking for Life after Impeachment

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Looking for Life after Impeachment

Article excerpt

If that's the case, then we should all ride that horse as long as we can. And it is to be hoped that many of the so-called fast-track bills will include those dear to the hearts and minds of bankers: financial modernization, bankruptcy reform, regulatory reform, and the like. In fact there has been much promising activity already.

Whether or not you have concluded that the impeachment process was largely a waste of the nation's time and resources, one result of it all is that we may now see a much more busy and deliberative Congress. Members of Congress, after all, aren't eager to appear to be a do-nothing body focused on but one issue, albeit an important one. This school of thought holds that senators and representatives will now almost certainly show themselves to be a Congress at Work, moving bills and legislating at every opportunity. This will prove, in the process, that there really can be life after impeachment.

Even during the long weeks of the Senate trial, members of Congress were introducing banking bills, scheduling hearings, and showing the general enthusiasm of a body intent on doing something of value. Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, for example, announced that he fully intends to push forward with an ambitious schedule for financial modernization. He announced a tentative late February markup, and said he hoped to have a bill as soon as humanly possible. Both Gramm and House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach have repeatedly indicated that financial modernization is at the top of their agendas.

In late January, in a speech to a Washington trade group, majority leader Trent Lott is reported to have ranked financial modernization and bankruptcy legislation among the Senate's top ten priorities this session.

In the House, meanwhile, they were scheduling hearings on the National Credit Union Administration's field of membership rules, bank lending, and other transactions involving hedge funds, the Community Reinvestment Act, the regulatory burden, mortgage-disclosure reform, and money laundering. Harley Bergmeyer, ABA's treasurer, testified before the Financial Institutions Subcommittee, chaired by New Jersey Rep. Marge Roukema, on the NCUA's field of membership rule. This is the same rule over which the ABA has taken the NCUA to court.

And the House Banking Committee has held hearings on H. …

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