Magazine article American Banker

Washington People

Magazine article American Banker

Washington People

Article excerpt

A Logical Debate?

Space - the final frontier.

These are the debates of the House Financial Services Committee. During its two-day mission to pass a bill reforming the Federal Housing Administration, the panel boldly went where it has never gone before: Mars.

While voting on the bill, panel members veered off track to a discussion of a manned trip to the planet. The argument was sparked by an amendment from Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., that would suspend any funding to a proposed affordable housing fund if it hurt the budget deficit and the Social Security surplus.

Committee Chairman Barney Frank used the amendment to attack Republicans for their spending when they were in the majority in Congress.

"I don't remember hearing about these particular principles the gentleman from Alabama has offered here when we deal with the Agriculture Department, when we deal with the Pentagon, when we deal with the president's proposal to go to Mars," Rep. Frank said. "I don't see those proposals then."

The argument gained warp speed from there.

Rep. Bachus signaled that Republicans would be happy to rein in spending, but Rep. Frank did not believe him.

"I'll be waiting for those amendments on the Mars shot, on the agriculture subsidy, and on a lot of other things," he said. "I'm against the Mars shot. I'll move to strike the money from the Mars shot this year."

The Mars argument must have proved persuasive. Rep. Bachus' amendment was defeated 36 to 26.

The Home Front

As Rep. Paul Gillmor fights in Washington to stop Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers from getting a banking charter, the House Financial Services member also is engaged in a battle with a local newspaper about where he lives.

In two articles and an editorial last week, The Blade of Toledo blasted the Ohio Republican's purchase of a $1 million suburban Columbus home that was outside the district he represents. …

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