Removing Barriers Blog

President Signs Conference Report of Three Bill Minibus into Law
Posted September 21, 2018 by CUNA Advocacy

Today, President Trump signed into law the conference report on H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water Development, Military Construction, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019.  This three-bill “minibus” is the first fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill to be signed into law. 

The 2018 fiscal year ends on September 30.  If history is any guide, at least one partial continuing resolution will be necessary to fund government operations that begin on October 1, 2018. 

A House and Senate conference committee has agreed to another two-bill FY19 Appropriations “minibus” funding bill that funds the Department of Defense, as well as the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bills.  Included in this agreement is a continuing resolution to fund all remaining government operations until December 7th at FY18 levels.  This is intended to give Democrats and Republicans in Congress more time to come up with agreement on remaining FY19 appropriations bills.  The Senate has passed this second minibus and the House is scheduled to consider it the last week of September. 

The House and Senate conference committee has also met to hammer out a deal on H.R. 6147, the third FY 2019 "minibus" Appropriations package, which includes the Interior, Financial Services, Agriculture, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bills. 

Should the second minibus not pass the House of Representatives this week, or if the president vetoes it, the federal government will partially shut down on October 1.  Should either scenario come to pass, all government funding for programs and agencies not included in the first minibus will be set at fiscal year 2018 levels until subsequent legislation is passed. 

In the funding portion of the third minibus, the House position on the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund was to fund it at $248 million for FY19.  The Senate position was $250 million.  The conference committee position is unknown to the public at this time.  Both the House and Senate position on the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) is $2 million.  During a continuing resolution, these two programs will be funded at FY18 levels, $250 million and $2 million respectively. 

There are other issues in the third minibus of interest to credit unions.  For the Small Business Administration, both the House and Senate positions authorize the same maximum loan limit of $30 billion for the Section 7(a) loan program.  This loan cap is $1 billion more than Fiscal Year 2018’s enacted level of $29 billion.  For the SBA’s Section 504 Loan Program, both House and Senate positions authorize the same FY18 maximum loan limit of $7.5 billion.  Credit unions make both 7(a) and 504 loans. 

The House-passed Financial Services and General Government Act for Fiscal Year 2019 include important regulatory relief to credit unions and other financial institutions, including: 

  • A two year delay to the effective date of the NCUA’s risk-based capital rule, from January 1, 2019 to January 1, 2021. 
  • The Mortgage Choice Act, which specifies that neither escrow charges for insurance nor affiliated title charges shall be considered "points and fees" for purposes of determining whether a mortgage is a "high-cost mortgage."  A high-cost mortgage designation restricts the terms of the loan and requires a lender to make certain unnecessary disclosures to the borrower.  As H.R. 1153, this legislation passed the House earlier this year by a vote of 280 – 131.  As part of H.R.10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, this bill passed the House last year by a vote of 233 – 186. 
  • The Privacy Notification Technical Clarification Act, which would exempt a financial institution, under specified circumstances, from the requirement to annually disclose its privacy policies to consumers.  As H.R.2396, this bill passed the House late last year by a vote of 275 – 146. 
  • The Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, which would enhance the rights of financial institutions and reduce unnecessary and burdensome features that accompany the federal financial examinations of banks and credit unions.  As H.R.4545, this bill passed the House in March by a vote of 283 to 133.  As part of H.R.10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, this bill passed the House last year by a vote of 233 – 186. 
  • The TRID Improvement Act, which would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to allow the accurate disclosure of title insurance premiums and any potential available discounts to homebuyers.  As H.R.3978, this bill passed the House in February by a vote of 271 – 145.  As part of H.R.10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, this bill passed the House last year by a vote of 233 – 186. 
  • The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection–Inspector General Reform Act, which would establish an independent Inspector General at the BCFP, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.  As part of H.R.10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, this bill passed the House last year by a vote of 233 – 186. 
  • A provision to place the BCFP under the appropriations process starting in fiscal year 2020.  As part of H.R.10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, this bill passed the House last year by a vote of 233 – 186.  
  • A provision giving the president the authority to remove the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. 
  • A provision to require congressional review of BCFP rulemaking.  This provision would require the BCFP to submit proposed rules for congressional review.  Non-major rules would go into effect after submission to Congress, while major rules would require a joint resolution of approval before going into effect. 

It is unknown if any of these House-passed provisions will be included in any legislation that is eventually signed into law. 

There are three appropriations bills that have yet to be considered in their initial form by either the full House or Senate.  They are Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science, and State-Foreign Operations. 

In the report of the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act for FY19, CUNA worked with CJS Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) to include language regarding DOJ guidance on ADA website accessibility.  On pages 4 and 5 of the “Manager’s Amendment”, the amendment states, under “Legal Activities, Salaries and Expenses, General Legal Activities”, insert the following new paragraph: Website Accessibility. – “The Committee expects the Department to clarify standards for website accessibility requirements pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act in fiscal year 2019.  The Committee recognizes the confusion caused by a lack of uniform website accessibility standards.  The lack of clear requirements disadvantages small businesses that provide essential services for our communities.” 

In the report of the House Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for FY19, CUNA worked Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) to secure the inclusion of WOCCU-requested language that states “The Secretary of State is encouraged to expand opportunities for small businesses or cooperatives to compete for State Department contracts.”  The subcommittee felt that saying “cooperatives” was the most appropriate way to reference credit unions and organizations like WOCCU.  Further, the report states, “The committee continues to be concerned about the difficulty with which companies, including small, minority-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises; universities; and non-governmental organizations have in navigating the acquisition and assistance process at USAID. The committee expects that, to the maximum extent practicable, the USAID Administrator shall ensure that the United States’ small, minority-owned, veteran, and disadvantaged business enterprises and faith-based organizations fully participate in the provision of goods and services especially if they have a proved track record of promoting local self-reliance and democratic governance.” 

In the report of the House-passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for FY19, CUNA worked Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) to secure the inclusion of CUNA requested language that states “[the committee] urges the FCC to clarify the aspects of its 2015 interpretation that were struck down by the court, including reviewing the definition of an automatic dialer and how businesses should treat reassigned numbers.” 

CUNA will continue to engage with lawmakers to advance credit union priorities in fiscal year 2019 appropriations legislation.