CUNA Advocacy Update – Week of May 1, 2017

**BREAKING TODAY** Last night, Congressional negotiators came to an agreement on a spending bill that will fund the government through the end of September. Included in this agreement is $248 million for the Community Development Financial Institution Fund and $2 million for the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. Both levels represent strong funding for these programs, which the Trump administration had proposed no funding. Congratulations and thank you to all who participated in our grassroots effort on this issue. You did it! Next up: The funding process for fiscal 2018 is underway.

This Week on Capitol Hill: In addition to work on the omnibus appropriations bill, the House is also scheduled to vote on the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017” (H.R. 1180). The Senate will resume consideration of Jay Clayton to be Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As usual, we are engaged in several committee meetings on both sides of the Capitol. [Read more]

CHOICE ACT Mark-up Tuesday: On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee is expected to begin consideration of H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act. H.R. 10 is Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s Dodd-Frank Act replacement legislation.

This is a consequential milepost in our effort to bring about regulatory relief for credit unions. Having said that, this mark-up will likely more closely resemble the recent committee consideration of the Affordable Care Act repeal than anything we have seen in the House Financial Services Committee in years. We shared our perspective on the process on the blog recently.

The Committee held two days of very partisan hearings last week. In the first hearing, the Republican majority highlighted the need for a repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act due in part to overly burdensome regulations, the CFPB and its structure, and the high cost of compliance which is promoting the consolidation of community financial institutions including credit unions. On the other side, the Democrats continued to promote and protect the Dodd-Frank Act and its intended goal to shield Americans from the need of another financial bailout.

Friday’s hearing, which was called pursuant to a committee rule that provides the minority party the ability to call witnesses at a continuation of a legislative hearing, featured Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the marquee witness. As expected, Senator Warren defended the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Here is what you need to know:

  • We expect Democrats to use every parliamentary tool in the book to prolong the mark-up and force Republican members to take uncomfortable votes.
  • The only GOP amendment we expect at this time is an amendment to strike language from the bill that would repeal the Durbin amendment. More on this below.
  • Assuming the Chairman can demonstrate that he has 218 votes for the bill that the committee ultimately approves, the House could consider H.R. 10 as early as the week of May 15.

Durbin Amendment Repeal Center Stage at Mark-Up: For the last several months, it has been clear that the language in the CHOICE Act that repeals the Durbin amendment would be the most contentious issue in the legislation. That is not to suggest that it’s the only controversial issue in the legislation; rather, it’s an issue that, unlike much of the remainder of the bill, does not cut neatly along partisan lines. House leadership, committee members, staff and industry have openly speculated that the language would be removed before the legislation moves to the floor.

Going into last week, the conventional wisdom was that the Durbin repeal language would survive committee but would be stripped before going to the floor in the interest of moving the process along. Now, it appears a Republican member of the Committee intends to offer an amendment at mark-up, perhaps with the blessing of the Chairman. If that plays out, expect to see a crucial vote on debit interchange fees at the mark-up this week.

That is why we have issued an action alert focused on House Financial Services Committee members, urging them to support the Durbin repeal language. If your Member of Congress sits on the Financial Services Committee please take action today!

CUNA Follow-up on Recent Treasury Meeting: CUNA sent a letter to the Department of Treasury’s Secretary Steven Mnuchin thanking the Treasury for hosting the Credit Union Roundtable on April 4th and providing additional information on the ways regulations can be streamlined and more manageable for credit unions. The Treasury has been holding similar roundtables to gather information as it prepares a paper in response to the President’s Executive Order, issued on February 3, on Core Principles in Regulating the United States Financial System.

As requested, the letter not only supplements the input from credit union representatives from across the country, but also highlights the credit union difference and many of the regulatory burdens credit unions continue to face in the wake of the Dodd-Frank Act and the creation of the CFPB.

CUNA also outlined recommendations on how to streamline and ease regulatory burden. [Read more]

Pending Regulatory Comment Calls: CUNA plans to comment on the following pending regulatory proposals. For our comment letters to have the greatest impact, we need to hear from you. Please consider whether and how these proposals would affect your credit union, and contact the CUNA staff listed for each proposal with your feedback.

For more information regarding these proposals, please follow the links below:

Issue Comment Period Deadline Agency CUNA Staff Contact
Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Reg B) Ethnicity and Race Information Collection May 4, 2017 CFPB Andy Price
Alternative Capital May 9, 2017 NCUA Andy Price
Use of Alternative Data and Modeling Techniques in the Credit Process May 10, 2017 CFPB Leah Dempsey
Remittance Rule Assessment May 23, 2017 CFPB Luke Martone
Credit Card Market Request for Information June 8, 2017 CFPB Lance Noggle
CUNA, World Council Support FATCA Repeal: CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) wrote a joint letter to Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), in support of their legislation (S. 869 and H.R. 2054) to repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing on the legislation last week. [Read more]

Over on the Removing Barriers Blog:

Interesting Reads:

Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA.