WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) didn’t address specific credit union legislative priorities during his speech at NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus, but he commiserated with attendees about the dangers of excessive regulation.
“Regulation is killing America,” he said.
He said the government issues a new regulation once every 2 hours and 20 minutes. To make his point, an aide brought a box filled with regulations that he brought out in several large piles. He said the financial overhaul bill that Congress passed last year will cost several billion dollars to implement.
All the Republicans in the House voted against the measure, and Bachus’ committee and the full House have passed several pieces of legislation that have modified certain parts of the bill, but the Senate hasn’t acted on any of them.
One of the House’s actions has been to revamp the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to have it run by a five-member board rather than a single director. And the House also passed a measure to make it easier to overturn the bureau’s decisions.
Bachus said that many of the provisions of the financial overhaul bill are going to negatively impact institutions such as credit unions that didn’t cause the financial crisis.
“The regulations land on you because of what others do and they don’t help you do your job,” he said.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), a senior member of Bachus’ panel, said that so far the regulations from the financial overhaul bill will require 10.8 million man hours to comply with and it took only 7 million man hours to build the Empire State Building.
While Bachus and Neugebauer didn’t address issues such as raising the cap on member business lending and the credit union tax exemption, other lawmakers did.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a strong credit union supporter, promised he will fight to raise the cap on member business loans and preserve the tax exemption while at the same time facing his toughest re-election challenge.
Sherman, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, told attendees that one of the keys to jumpstarting the economy is to have government get out of the way and do things that will allow businesses to attain more capital and hire more people. One solution is getting Congress to increase the cap on member business loans, and Sherman noted that he is co-sponsoring legislation that would accomplish that.
He also said eliminating the credit union tax exemption would be a “sudden and unwise change,” and he will do all he can to prevent that from happening. He isn’t a member of the House-Senate committee on deficit reduction that could vote to eliminate the exemption as part of its overall efforts to reduce government spending.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), a freshman on the House Financial Services Committee, praised the work of credit unions and said he would fight hard to prevent credit unions from losing their tax exempt status.
The tax exemption is in potential jeopardy because the House-Senate committee that is mandated to make extensive cuts in government spending could consider the elimination of certain tax expenditures as part of its work, which must be completed by mid-November.