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House OKs sweeping bank rules

WASHINGTON - Nearly two years after a Wall Street meltdown left the economy reeling, the House passed a massive overhaul of financial regulations Wednesday that would extend the government's reach from storefront thrifts to the executive suites of Manhattan.

Senate support for the far-reaching bill remained in flux, however. The Senate was forced to delay its vote to mid-July.

Democrats struggled to secure the votes of a handful of Republican senators even after meeting their demands and backing down on a $19-billion taxon big banks and hedge funds.

The legislation, swelling to more than 2,000 pages, would rewrite the nation's regulatory books. Simple supermarket purchases and exotic derivatives trades would be subject to new laws. And the entire financial system would be placed on a risk watch in hope of thwarting the next threat of a financial crisis.

The 237-192 House tally broke largely along party lines but attracted more support than in December when no Republicans voted for it. It combines the House bill with one by the Senate passed last month. - AP

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