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Washington
Senate returns to reform CRA hearings in House
WASHINGTON (4/13/10)—The U.S. Senate reconvened yesterday and the House does so today, launching what some predict will be the busiest seven congressional weeks of the year in a session that ends with a Memorial Day break. During this past recess, discussions regarding the Financial Regulatory Restructuring bill continued between Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd's (D-Conn.) staff and the staff of the committee’s ranking Republican member, Richard Shelby of Alabama. “Our understanding is that no agreements have been made, though both sides have repeatedly committed to continue talking,” said Ryan Donovan Monday. Donovan is vice president of legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). CUNA worked with committee staff during the recess to continue discussions about outstanding credit unions concerns with the legislation, including the examination and enforcement language and the remittance provisions. Donovan said April 26 is the earliest the Senate could vote on a financial reform bill; he noted, however, the process could drag on many weeks after that date. On the House side of the U.S. Capitol, where a reform bill--H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act--was passed in December, there are a number of hearings this week of interest to credit unions--although one of key interest involving the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was cancelled Monday afternoon. Although late last year federal lawmakers pushed the compliance date for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) back to June 1 from Dec. 1, 2009, things remain unsettled around that law. The Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Treasury Department are tasked with implementing UIGEA, under which credit unions and other financial institutions must establish policies and procedures to identify and block restricted Internet gambling transactions, or rely on procedures established by the payments system. Some, including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) have called the agencies’ proposed implementation plans “deeply flawed.” On Friday, Frank’s committee was scheduled to conduct hearings on H.R.2266, the Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act, and H.R.2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act-Governmental Perspectives. The former would establish a one-year moratorium for UIGEA provisions, the latter would re-instate the legality of Internet gambling. The hearings are expected to be rescheduled. On Thursday, House Financial Services, as announced last week, will conduct a hearing entitled, "Perspectives and Proposals on the Community Reinvestment Act." Also on Thursday, the Senate Small Business Committee will hold a hearing entitled, "Assessing Access: Obstacles and Opportunities for Minority Small Business Owners in Today's Capital Markets." Use resource link to see additional House Financial Services Committee hearings.
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