WASHINGTON (3/3/09)—Business in Washington, legislative and otherwise, may have gotten a little bit of a delayed start Monday morning because of the storm that pelted much of the East Coast, but the U.S. Congress moved forward with its heavy agenda for the week. That agenda in the House could include consideration of the mortgage “cramdown” bill that was yanked from the calendar last week. The Senate Monday, as expected, began consideration of H.R. 1105, the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. This legislation was passed by the House last week. It includes language to remove the cap on the National Credit Union Administration’s Central Liquidity Facility lending authority. The House began consideration of several bills under suspension of the rules, which means they were considered noncontroversial in nature. The schedule for Monday may have shifted slightly as a result of the weather event, but Credit Union National Association Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said it will work itself out because additional suspension bills were expected to be considered today. Come Tuesday or Wednesday, the House may resume consideration of H.R. 1106, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, which includes the “cramdown” provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to change terms of existing mortgages. (See related story: CUNA urges Pelosi delay on “cramdowns”) Donovan said it is unclear at this point what form additional amendments to the bill may take, but he does expect changes to be suggested. On the committee level, credit unions may be interested in the following hearings:
* On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on consumer protections in financial services; * On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit will hold a hearing entitled, "TARP Oversight: Is TARP working for Main Street?"; * On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on government intervention and implications for future regulation. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn is expected to testify at this hearing; and * Also on Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee subcommittee on capital markets, insurance and government-sponsored enterprises will hold a hearing on perspectives on systemic risk, focusing on how to improve the ability of government to prevent private sector activities from putting at risk the stability of the U.S. economy.