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In Congress Dodd leads the week with reform bill
WASHINGTON (3/16/10)-- Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday released long-awaited legislation aimed at reforming the financial regulatory structure in response to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Dodd's bill incorporates ideas from both Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle, and specifically would allow the Federal Reserve to continue to oversee both large banks and smaller state-chartered banks while also adding authority over some non-bank financial firms to the Fed's list of responsibilities. Dodd’s proposal also allows the National Credit Union Administration to maintain its independence and excludes credit unions with $10 billion or less in assets from the oversight authority of a proposed consumer watchdog. However, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica noted that CUNA will advocate for removing all credit unions from the oversight of the new agency. "We believe a strong case can be made that no credit unions need direct supervision by the new agency," Mica said after Dodd's afternoon press conference. While the introduction of Dodd’s financial regulatory reform bill will likely take top billing for credit unions this week in Congress, there will be plenty of other action on Capitol Hill. Credit unions may not be closely following the ongoing healthcare debate, but there is some speculation that the budget reconciliation process that is begun by the passage of any healthcare legislation may also be used to eliminate the Department of Education's Federal Family Education Loans Program in favor of a federal direct lending program. CUNA has opposed the elimination of the FFELP program and will continue to monitor this issue closely throughout the week. One item on the congressional agenda that will not directly affect credit unions, but is still of interest, is jobs legislation, which, after being juggled between the House and Senate, could be returned to the House by the Senate later this week. Two of the many House hearings taking place this week are scheduled for Wednesday, when the House Financial Services Committee will discuss public and assisted housing revitalization initiatives and the link between the Federal Reserve’s bank supervision and monetary policy.

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