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Hearings of interest before Memorial Day breaks
WASHINGTON (5/24/11)--Both the House and Senate are in session this week, with notable hearings taking place in both bodies of Congress. The first hearing of credit union interest will take place on Tuesday, when the House Financial Services Committee conducts a mark-up session covering the derivatives section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Two of that panel's subcommittees have scheduled hearings for Wednesday. The subcommittee on insurance, housing and community opportunity will discuss the future roles of the Federal Housing Administration, the Rural Housing Service, and the Government National Mortgage Association in housing markets. And the capital markets subcommittee will discuss additional steps needed to end the bailout of government-sponsored entities (GSE) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That GSE hearing is expected to focus on seven separate bills. Those bills would, in part, prevent dividend payment decreases, abolish the affordable housing trust fund, and prevent legislators and regulators from creating a future system similar to the current GSE setup. The GSE-related bills would also set a cap for government assistance to the GSEs, subject them to freedom of information act standards, require them to dispose of all assets that are not mission-critical, and prevent taxpayers from paying for the legal fees of Fannie and Freddie executives. The Senate Banking subcommittee on securities, insurance and investment subcommittee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday, discussing derivatives clearinghouses. Further Senate Banking action will take place on Wednesday, with the National Association of Realtors, the National Multi-Housing Council and National Apartment Association, and the National Association of Home Builders testifying during a hearing on potential housing finance reforms. The House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit has also planned a Thursday hearing on Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. oversight. The FDIC”s current role, and its work during the recent financial crisis, will be examined during that hearing. Aside from the hearings, little of this week’s action is expected to be relevant to credit unions. Discussion and votes on the Patriot Act and budgetary issues are expected. After this week, the House and Senate will not be in session at the same time again until the week of June 13. The Senate will recess until June 6 at the end of this week. The House will return to work following the Memorial Day holiday, but they will leave for the week of June 6.


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