Change in Power on Capitol Hill Could Impact CURIA Sponsorship
WASHINGTON -- The Democratic take over of the House could impact the makeup of the Financial Services Subcommittees and, therefore, influence who would be the lead sponsor of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act should it reappear.
With Financial Institutions Subcommittee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leaving the House for the open Senate seat in his state, CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Dean Sagar said, it is "uncertain" whether Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) would remain the chair of the Capital Markets Subcommittee on which he currently serves as ranking member or if he would choose to move to the Financial Institutions Subcommittee; Kanjorski will have first pick. However, as chairman of the Financial Institutions Subcommittee, Sagar said, he would likely decline to sponsor legislation to come before the subcommittee, as current chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) has done.
"There is a chance that if he were chair of that subcommittee, he may not be the sponsor of CURIA or of credit union legislation," Sagar acknowledged, "but it would put him in much more of an important position to schedule it or to broker it. Either way it would work well for us." However, credit union lobbyists have also said CURIA could take on an entirely different form depending upon the outcome of the elections, such as a number of separate, smaller initiatives, particularly under the chairmanship of Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Housing is expected to be a key committee issue under the Dems. CURIA has enjoyed co-sponsorship from both parties, but particularly the Democrats. Well over 100 of the 124 co-sponsors to the bill will be returning for the 110th Congress. "With our good friend Congressman Paul Kanjorski becoming a likely chairman of one of the Financial Services' subcommittees and Senator-elect Bernie Sanders stating at NAFCU's Congressional Caucus that he would sponsor CURIA in the senate, we really like the start," NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler said. Sagar agreed that Democratic control is a good sign. "I think it will help quite a bit," the former Financial Services Committee Democratic staffer said. On the Flip Side of the Capitol
Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is expected to chair the Senate Banking Committee. Dodd's role as a leading Democrat in the minority has been "very selective," Sagar said. "Dodd's style has been to wait until the end...come in with one or two items and negotiate them," he added. "It was usually very quiet, very last minute. How he would operate where he had to control the process, set the agenda, start from the beginning is unclear.
Ranking Member Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) is retiring at the end of this Congress. Sanders, who is ranking member on the Financial Institutions Subcommittee, has won the open Vermont Senate seat. Obviously he will no longer be available as a co-sponsor to CURIA in the House, but has promised to introduce similar legislation in the Senate. --firstname.lastname@example.org