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Congress was out of session last week and both the House of Representatives and the Senate return this week for a busy legislative schedule. Intrigue surrounds whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has enough votes to pass a bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. With only 52 Republican Senators, he can only afford to lose two Senators and pass the bill. He was expected to bring up the legislation the week of June 25th but he faced a revolt from the most conservative and the most liberal Senators in his party. Whether Republicans can enact a healthcare law will have far ranging implications on whether tax reform can be accomplished and whether Republicans will go into the midterm elections without a single significant legislative achievement.
The House has passed H.R. 10, the Financial Choice Act. This large piece of legislation included many regulatory relief provisions for credit unions and other small financial institutions. With 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass this legislation and send it to the president, the outlook for passage seems grim as Republicans expect few Democratic Senators to help them with passage. As a result, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), has been working with House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Chairman Tom Graves (R-GA) to include a number of provisions from the Choice Act in must-pass spending legislation. One provision of great concern to CUNA is the provision included in both bills that places the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) under the Congressional appropriations process. CUNA lobbyists and its state partners have been working to persuade key Appropriators and their staff to abandon this unneeded and unnecessary provision from the bill. The NCUA has always been an independent agency that has had successful oversight over the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Becoming a possible Congressional piggy bank gives credit unions reason for concern. In addition, bank lobbyists have never made secret that their plan to eliminate credit unions starts with stripping NCUA of its independent status and eventually merging all financial charters and federal insurance funds into a single bank charter and a single insurance fund.
We expect this appropriations bill to be considered by the full committee on Thursday. However, the Committee has announced a busy schedule of three subcommittee markups and two full committee markups. The fact that the anticipated Thursday markup of the FSGG legislation has not been officially announced could be a sign that Chairman Graves is feeling the pressure from CUNA, the state Leagues, as well as his own fellow members of the Committee. With Democrats united in their opposition to this bill, Republicans cannot afford to lose many votes on their side of the aisle. In addition, the Chairman doesn’t want to have to make his members take politically difficult votes. In addition to the NCUA provision, the bill also cuts $58 million from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund as well as eliminates all funding for the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. CUNA has been putting an enormous amount of pressure on the entire Appropriations Committee to restore these funding cuts.
In the full House, the chamber is expected to consider later in the week H.R. 23, the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017 and H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.
The Senate is expected to consider the nomination of Neomi Rao to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In addition, the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on the nomination of David C. Nye to be United States District Judge for the District of Idaho.
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Credit Union National Association is the most influential financial services trade association and the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America's credit unions. We work tirelessly to protect your best interests in Washington and all 50 states. We fuel your professional growth at every level and champion the credit union story at every turn.
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