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Washington Outlook: Capital Wrapup


It's all over but the recriminations, yet the politics that produced a minimal bank-reform bill after months of effort continue to roil the House Banking Committee. Some members would like to dump Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tex.) immediately, but House rules make a mid-Congress change impossible. There is, however, sure to be upheaval after the 1992 election, when bank reform is likely to resurface. Frank Annunzio of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat and chairman of the important financial institutions subcommittee, will retire, as will Doug Barnard of Georgia, a leading advocate of sweeping bank regulation reform. Another senior Democrat, Tom Carper, is leaving the House to run for governor of Delaware. If the House Democratic Caucus deposes Gonzalez when it elects leaders for the next Congress, the top candidates to head the panel would be Bruce Vento of Minnesota and Charles Schumer and John LaFalce, both of New York. But a problem plaguing the panel -- lack of experience among members -- is sure to get worse. Nearly half of its 52 members have served in the House for five years or less, and the departure of so many old hands will produce an influx of more rookies -- making the business of reform more difficult.EDITED BY STEPHEN H. WILDSTROM

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