WASHINGTON – At some points too choked up to speak, political powerhouse and former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas) announced recently that he would not be seeking re-election to the Senate when his term expires after 2002. Gramm is a close ally with credit unions. As just one example, he vowed in the past to defeat the Community Action Plan (CAP) legislatively if it could not be done through the regulatory system. Gramm has promised not to go quietly in his last 15 months in office. Nearing the end of his third-term, 59-year-old Gramm said, "As long as the people of Texas and America pay my paycheck, I'm going to give them their moneys worth." The Senator said he was unsure of what he would do after his retirement, but that he was not seeking any public service positions. Gramm remarked that he was very certain another Republican would fill his seat. He is the third Senate Republican to announce his retirement along with Jesse Helms (N.C.) and Strom Thurmond (S.C.). Senate Republicans are expected to have 21 seats to defend next election year, while Democrats will only have 14. While the credit union community is sorry to lose a supporter like Gramm during the next election cycle, lobbyists are positive that they will be able to work with anyone who comes along. "We work pretty well with just about all the senators that are in office now.Pretty much all offices have been pretty open," NAFCU Senior Lobbyist Murray Chanow commented. NAFCU Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler added, "We'd be comfortable with anyone who's in the Senate now or anyone who would take his seat." CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica complimented Gramm on his "honesty, tenacity, and dedication." Regarding the CAP, Mica added, "I don't think Phil's departure will have anything to do with what we're doing over at NCUA." House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley in a statement called Gramm, "a real Texas star," adding "his sharp mind and wit are always a pleasure. His love of ideas and policy helped our nation prosper and made him a conservative stalwart of our Republican Party. At the completion of his term, he will be sorely missed." Gramm, father of the financial modernization bill in 1999, lost his chairmanship when Senator Jim Jeffords (Vt.) switched out of the Republican party to an Independent, giving Democrats a 50-49 control over the Senate [email protected]

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