WASHINGTON (UPDATED: 1:00 P.M. ET 11/3/10)--With the makeup of the 112th Congress falling into place after Tuesday's midterm elections, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) CUNA has analyzed the near future for credit unions and legislation in general. The divide between a Republican House and a Democratic Senate could prove to be a challenge for new legislation, but smaller items such as the potential enactment of capital reform for credit unions, could see debate, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill said. Magill also noted that the tone of the House should shift away from the consumer protection dynamic seen in the past two years, a move that makes further discussions of the Community Reinvestment Act, mortgage cramdown provisions, and overdraft protection legislation less likely. Magill added that legislation that would increase the cap on member business lending done by credit unions could fit in to the House agenda if Republicans follow up on campaign promises of reducing government spending and helping small businesses create jobs. The fight for MBL legislation will continue in the upcoming lame duck session, which should begin next week, and will likely continue into the next session of Congress when it starts in January, Magill said. Congress will likely start its January work by considering tax reform and ways to tackle the federal budget deficit, and Republicans may use their newfound control of the House of Representatives to force symbolic votes to repeal the Health Care Reform law or parts of the financial reform bill. However, with President Obama wielding a veto pen, there may not be a true resolution to these votes. The committee agenda in both branches of Congress should remain the same, at first, with Housing finance reform remaining a top priority for both the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee. A key point in the coming debate will be the role of the federal government in the secondary mortgage market, a question with huge implications for credit unions. The recently enacted Dodd-Frank Act should also come up for discussion, as will the still developing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Magill said, adding that Republican-controlled House committees could seek to address the regulatory reforms in this manner, effectively working to change the enforcement of the new regulations from within instead of repealing them outright. CUNA expects the following representatives to assume control of key House committees:
* House Financial Services Committee Chairman: Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.); * House Ways and Means Committee Chairman: Dave Camp (R-Mich.); * House Appropriations Chairman: Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.); * House Judiciary Committee Chairman: Lamar Smith (R-Texas); * House Rules Committee Chairman: David Dreier (R-Calif.); * House Small Business Committee Chairman: Sam Graves (R-Mo.); and * House Oversight Chairman: Darryl Issa (R-Calif.)
Overall, with the 2012 campaign season likely to begin soon, an ambitious legislative agenda is not expected in the near future. CUNA was very active in the election process and overall, as of this morning, 93% of candidates in called races who received CULAC support won election.