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Orientation elder abuse hearing on tap as Congress returns
WASHINGTON (11/13/12)--The U.S. Congress will return to regular business this week in a post-election, lame duck session, with plenty on the plate as the year draws to a close.

Even with five House races not yet called as of last night, orientation for incoming House and Senate members will be held starting this week. Elections for new committee and subcommittee leadership will also take place. This week Republicans will determine who will take on their leadership roles for 2013-onward.  Democrats are scheduled to hold their own committee and subcommittee leadership elections the week of Nov. 26.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will discuss member business lending and other credit union priorities with new and veteran members of Congress as they return.

Legislatively, Congress has a few large issues to resolve, including a solution to address the so-called "fiscal cliff." If legislators fail to compromise on various spending and tax issues by year end, $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction moves will be initiated on Jan. 2.

There are also appropriations bills, various tax extenders, and the Farm Bill that need to be addressed.

A Senate cycbersecurity bill (S. 3414) is one item that could be considered this week. That bill, which was last discussed in the summer, would establish voluntary information protection standards for government agencies, utilities, and other public and private entities. The bill would also establish a National Cybersecurity Council, drawing members from various federal agencies. CUNA has noted that some voluntary security standards could eventually become mandatory, thus imposing a new burden on financial institutions. CUNA has repeatedly said that the data security standards followed by credit unions and other financial institutions are strong, and it remains committed to ensuring that any data security measure passed by Congress does not negatively impact credit unions.

Hearings will also be held as the House and Senate return to a somewhat regular schedule.

The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday will hold a hearing titled "Oversight of Basel III: Impact of Proposed Capital Rules." Slated to testify are Michael Gibson, director of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation; John Lyons, chief national bank examiner in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and George French, deputy director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Policy, Division of Risk Management Supervision.

The Senate Select Committee on Aging will hold a Thursday hearing on preventing elder financial abuse. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Office of Older Americans Assistant Director Hubert "Skip" Humphrey III is scheduled to testify. Kay Brown, director of education, work force and income security at the Government Accountability Office, Paul Smocer of the Financial Services Roundtable and San Diego, Calif., Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood are also expected to speak.

Congress will break at the end of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday, but will return the following week. This lame duck session of Congress is expected to end on Dec. 14, but may also be extended.


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