The chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate committee investigating Bert Lance still feel that Lance should resign as director of the Office of Management and Budget, committee sources said yesterday.
Chairman Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.) of the Governmental Affairs Committee said he would not comment publicly until the committee's hearings on Lance conclude today. But those who spoke with Ribicoff after Lance finished testifying Saturday said the chairman believes that Lance's effectiveness has been crippled by revelations about his personal financial affairs and that he should step down.
The committee's ranking Republican, Charies Percy of Illinois, said Lance's three days of testimony "strengthened considerably my feeling that he should leave the government."
It was evident, though, that the Ribicoff-Percy view was not shared by the entire committee.
Committee member Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.) said on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WTOP), "I see no reason for Bert Lance to resign, or certainly not to be fired."
While most committee members seemed to have fairly definite opinions as to whether or not Lance should resign, nobody seemed certain whether he would.
And Ribicoff and Percy, who jointly urged President Carter two weeks ago to seek Lance's resignation, both declined yesterday to predict what the President would do.
Sen. William V. Roth (R-Del.), who said the hearings had left him with "serious reservations" about Lance's competence and trustworthiness, concluded nonetheless that Carter would probably ask Lance to stay on the job. Roth appeared with Eagleton on "Face the Nation."
Lance ended his 20 hours of testimony with a strong declaration that he would remain in the administration. The budget director could not be reached yesterday.
Carter, at the Maryland mountain retreat, Camp David, declined to comment yesterday. Saturday he was quoted as saying that Lance had "enhanced his position" by his performance before the committee.
The President is expected to hold a press conference this week. There were reports yesterday that Lance also planned a press conference, but the White House said it had no knowledge of such a plan.
In a long opening statement last Thursday, and in 2 1/2 days of interrogation. Lance denied most of the charges against him. Several times he had the committee members on the defensive as he complained that they and the press had unfairly besmirched his reputation.
A recurring question in the hearings has been whether Lance gave the committee full information about his financial affairs in January, when the Senate confirmed his appointment.
Lance said time and again that he had given the committee or its staff a complete accounting of his assets, and liabilities and banking activities.
Committee members said that assertion would be challenged today when staff members testify about the January interviews with Lance.
Percy said the staff would contradict Lance's testimony on several points. The most important , he said, would involve a cease-and-desist agreement between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and First National Bank of Calhoun, Ga.,while Lance was its president.
Lance insisted last week that he had told the committee staff in January all about the agreement under which Lance's bank was required to stop permitting overdrafts on the checking accounts of bank officers and their families.
Percy said yesterday that majority and minority staff members alike will testify today that they were not told about the agreement.
Committee members remained perplexed yesterday about what to do with the Lance case.
"It's not altogether clear what we can do," Ribicoff said. "There's no way a committee can unconfirm an executive offical."
Because the Senate will be busy this week on energy matters, Ribicoff said, he will put off final decisions on the Lance affair for a least a week. "There I'll call the committee for a general discussion of what we have found and what we ought to do with it," the chairman said.
Two other congressional committees are inquiring into aspects of Lance's dealings during his career a Georgia banker. In addition, the Justice Department and bank examiners have reopened an investigation into the legality of Lance's use of a plane owned by National Bank of Georgia when he was its president.
In addition to asking about his use of the Atlanta bank's plane, the senators questioned Lance most persistently about a pattern of overdrafts in his accounts at banks he ran, about his failure to deliver collateral he initially pledged to back a large personal loan, about the extent of his personal indebtedness, and about his contacts with federal officials investigating his business affairs.