Northwest’s Elected Officials Appointed to Important Congressional Committees

With the start of a new Congressional session comes the announcement of new committee posts for senators and representatives from around the U.S. Highlighted by the appointment of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) as chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, an extension of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs, both Oregon and Washington are well-represented on Congressional committees of significance to credit unions.

In addition to Merkley’s chairmanship and accompanying post on the Senate Banking Committee, Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) will serve on the House Financial Services Committee, which he has said was his top choice after a campaign that promised a firm stance with regard to Wall Street and called for re-instatement of the Glass-Steagall Act. The Financial Services Committee holds broad jurisdiction over financial institutions, insurance and housing, among others.

“Before Sen. Merkley’s election to Congress and appointment to the Senate Banking Committee, the Northwest had gone without representation on either the House or Senate Banking Committees for several years,” said Jennifer Wagner, vice president of legislative advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “To now have strong representation on both the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services means the Northwest—and credit unions specifically—is better served.”

The subcommittee to be headed by Merkley presides over issues related to economic growth, employment and price stability, monetary policy, and small-business lending. It is also responsible for oversight of the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, an important new coordinating body charged by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act with advancing financial sector reforms.

Both Merkley and Heck were elected with support from the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).

“We need an economy that creates opportunities and good jobs for everyone who’s willing to work hard,” Merkley said. “Too many Oregonians are still out of work, and too many who work are scrimping and scraping just to tread water. I look forward to using my new role as subcommittee chairman to push for pro-growth policies that give working families and small businesses across Oregon the chance to get ahead.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-Wash.), also backed by the NWCUA, was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, which deals with federal discretionary spending, and will serve on three subcommittees: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD); Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government, which is responsible for review of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) budget.

The Appropriations Committee typically mandates that appointees serve that committee exclusively, but Herrera-Beutler was also allowed to retain her position on the Small Business Committee, through which she will serve on the Subcommittee on Health Care and Technology and on the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations, which will examine the processes of government small-business programs and the accompanying regulatory burden.

At the state level, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee reappointed Scott Jarvis as director of the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and tabbed Carol Kobuke Nelson, a bank executive, to lead the Department of Revenue.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

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