Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.) has urged the House to wait for recommendations by the new Republican administration on the controversial export trading bill rather than try to ram it through the current lame-duck session of Congress.
"The export trading company legislation deserves to be fully debated in the next Congress," Proxmire said in a letter to six congressmen. "Such a historical breach with the past should await the recommendations of President Reagan, and not [be] passed as a monument to defeated or lame-duck officials."
Backers of the legislation say the bill will promote exports by small American businesses and, by helping them compete with foreign companies, reduce the U.S. trade deficit.
Proxmire cited a Washington Post story of Nov. 27, which reported that a bill authorizing commercial banks to own export trading companies -- which passed the Senate Sept. 3 -- was being pushed by Commerce Secretary Philip Klutznick although there would not be time for detailed hearings.
Proxmire voted for the bill in the Senate, but he said the story "points up the need to take care that in this last week of the 96th Congress major legislation is not passed hurriedly which has not received the deliberation it deserves."
Proxmire said he had voted for the legislation when it came up in the Senate "with considerable misgivings over the antitrust and banking provisions, and with the expectation that it would be substantially reviewed by the House Judiciary and Banking committees during regular mark-up sessions." t
Proxmire said, "There is nothing in the bill to require trading companies to focus on small business. Legislation which will, in fact, increase exports deserves all of our support. This is not such a piece of legislation."
He added that the U.S. financial system over the next few years will go through a thorough review "as a result of developments in the marketplace and with the passage of the Depository Institutions Deregulation Act only a few months ago.
"Should large banks be permitted to operate interstate? Can a review of the McFadden Act be reasonably undertaken if the separation between banking and commerce is demolished as it is by this [export trading company] legislation, and the large banks permitted to set up nonbanking export cartels nationwide? I doubt it."
If ordinary mark-up procedures are side-stepped in the last few days of the session, Proxmire said he would oppose the legislation in a Senate-House conference.
The letter was sent to Rep. Henry S. Reuss (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Banking Committee; Rep. Peter W. Rodino Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Fernand St Germain (D-R.I.), chairman of a Financial Institutions subcommittee. It went also to the ranking minority member of each of the three groups: Reps. J. William Stanton (R-Ohio), Chalmers P. Wylie (R-Ohio) and Robert McClory (R-Ill.).