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Cramdown to stand alone as big reform progresses
WASHINGTON (12/11/09)--The House Rules Committee has elected not to marry cramdown language with Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) manager's amendment to H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The decision came after several credit unions leagues and credit union advocates in Washington for the National Hike the Hill reached out to Members of the House to object to combining the two measures. The cramdown amendment, which was presented by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) earlier this week, would modify the bankruptcy code to permit judicial mortgage modification in Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. However, the Rules Committee on Thursday did make the Conyers Amendment in order during debate of H.R. 4173 as a stand alone amendment, and there will be a vote on the cramdown amendment during the regulatory restructuring debate. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica on Thursday reached out to members of Congress on the cramdown issue, saying in a letter that CUNA considers the Conyers Amendment vote “a key credit union vote.” “H.R. 4173 has been delicately balanced to meet the needs of the proponents of financial regulatory reform and address several of the concerns that credit unions and others have raised throughout the process,” and CUNA is “deeply concerned that adoption of the Conyers Amendment could upset the balance that we feel has been achieved in H.R. 4173.” CUNA recognizes “the need for Congress to take steps to help keep people in their homes” and has attempted to work with proponents of this proposal on a compromise that would address foreclosures. However, Mica added, “the Conyers Amendment has the potential to do long-term damage to the mortgage market and undermine the safety and soundness of credit unions, and therefore we must oppose it.” CUNA recently communicated with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), telling the legislator that including cramdown language in Frank's manager's amendment could force credit unions to strongly oppose the broader regulatory restructuring measures proposed in H.R. 4173. Credit union league representatives from across the nation also spoke out against the cramdown legislation, meeting directly with legislators during CUNA's National Hike the Hill, which concluded yesterday. Thirty five additional amendments are also expected to be considered during debate on H.R. 4173. A final vote, and, possibly, final passage of H.R. 4173 could happen as soon as Friday, but the legislation may also linger into early next week.


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