Rep. Foley Deals Blow to Treasury Reform Bill

By Garsson, Robert M. | American Banker, July 24, 1991 | Go to article overview

Rep. Foley Deals Blow to Treasury Reform Bill


Garsson, Robert M., American Banker


Rep. Foley Deals Blow To Treasury Reform Bill

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Thomas S. Foley dealt the bank reform bill a setback Tuesday when he granted four committees broad authority to draft their own versions of legislation that has already passed the House Banking Committee

The committees have until Sept. 27 to complete their reviews, which will delay consideration of the bill by the entire House at least until that date.

Dingell Seen as Gaining Power

Among the panels is the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose chairman, Rep. John D. Dingell, has been an outspoken critic of the administration-backed banking reforms. the Agriculture, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees also have an opportunity to weigh in by the deadline.

The net effect of the referrals rector.

Some Democrats grumbled that Rep. Gonzalez was too tough on the Keating Five - four of whom were fellow Democrats - and not tough enough on Neil Bush. At one point, a clique of his fellow Banking Committee members moved unsuccessfully to have him dethroned as chairman.

Threat Thwarted in Texas

But none of Rep. Gonzalez's enemies appear ready to climb into the ring with him. The onetime amateur boxer is in still good enough condition at age 75 to mount a spirited defense. He proved it two years age when his knuckles turned back a man in a San Antonio restaurant who called him a Communist and appeared threatening.

The genial chairman doesn't look like much of a threat, unless you happen to concentrate on his enormous hands, each about the size of an infielder's glove. He has a fleshy face and patriarchal approach that invites children to sit on his knee and their parents to vote for him year after year. According to his own accounting, he has never gotten less than 86% of his district's vote.

His loose-fitting clothes camouflage huge shoulders. And his gracious manner - he insists on using formal courtesies like Mr. and Mrs. - masks a formidable temper.

One reason he remains in such good shape is the Spartan life he leads in a city that many other politicians have found an irresistible Babylon.

"Henry is incorruptible," says David Maxwell, a Gonzalez admirer and former head of the Federal National Mortgage Association.

The congressman drives a beat-up car, lives in an average house in an average neighborhood in San Antonio, and has little money in the bank, having spent most of what he has earned helping his 8 children and 20 grandchildren.

"If I wanted to make money I would have gone into business, not politics," says Rep. Gonzalez, who was good friends with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and still champions liberal causes like housing and civil rights.

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