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Association Prepares for Upcoming Congressional Session

Mon, Dec 19, 2016

Columbia, Maryland

The Association’s advocacy team continues to meet with and communicate with our Congressional delegation and key committee staffers to gather intel regarding issues and agendas for the new Congress.  While it is fair to say that most offices continue to be in the dark about what is going to happen as Jan. 3 begins the new Congress, we have gathered some new intel.  In a meeting with House Financial Services Committee majority staff last week regarding the Chairman’s thinking on next year’s Financial Services agenda, we were told several things of note: 

  • Chairman Hensarling is now re-drafting his regulatory reform ‘CHOICE Act.’  It is not entirely clear what changes will occur, but there will be some changes with a view toward the new post-election reality that this bill is no longer a “messaging bill”—it might actually become law.  The staffer also said that “the Chairman understands he has to negotiate with Senate Democrats.  But he doesn’t have to negotiate with House Democrats.” 
  • There are plans to try to put CFPB changes in a Budget Reconciliation.  The thinking is that, since the CFPB gets its money from the Federal Reserve, there is a budget impact.  The change would be replacing a single Director with a 5-person board.  It isn’t clear yet if this would be tried in a the first or second reconciliation. 
  • The rest of the ‘CHOICE Act is slated for markup in February, with House floor action planned for the summer.  At the suggestion that the ‘Durbin Amendment’ repeal [the Durbin Amendment, passed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform in 2010, required the Fed to limit fees charged to retailers for debit card processing] could be included in the reconciliation, we were told that “is probably not going to happen.”  Instead, the current thinking by Chairman Hensarling is that ‘Durbin Amendment’ would be repealed in the new CHOICE Act.