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News Now

Washington
TARP bankruptcy part of busy Hill agenda
WASHINGTON (1/22/09)--Even with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the Presidential Inauguration falling on consecutive days, this week is a busy one in both the House and the Senate. The House and the Senate were both in session Tuesday—the day Barack Obama became the 44th U.S. president. The House conducted a pro forma session, while the Senate met briefly to confirm certain nominees to the President's cabinet by unanimous consent. And then, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan, things just get busier. Of most interest to credit unions, the House Thursday night passed H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act. “When the House suspended debate on this legislation last week, four additional amendments were pending, including language that would provide a limited form of alternative capital to help credit unions participate in government assistance programs,” noted Donovan. He said that while the TARP reform bill ultimately is not expected to go beyond House approval, it is a good development if the House goes on record supporting the credit union amendment. Neither the Senate Banking Committee nor the House Financial Services Committee are expected to meet this week, but Donovan noted several hearings that CUNA will closely follow. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Timothy Geithner to be Secretary of Treasury. Also, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on "Where Were the Watchdogs? The Financial Crisis and the Breakdown of Financial Governance." On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on H.R.200, the "Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2009", and H.R.225, the "Emergency Homeownership and Equity Protection Act." “These bills are mortgage cramdown bills that are similar to the legislation that Sen. Durbin has introduced,” Donovan said. He added, “It is also worth noting that a number of committees on both sides of the Capitol will begin to mark-up the portions of the economic stimulus package that fall within the jurisdiction of the committee.” Also, it is expected that the Senate Finance Committee, House Appropriations Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will conduct committee meetings to consider the stimulus bill this week. The stimulus legislation likely will be on the floors of both Houses during the week of Jan. 26.


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