Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the heir apparent to chair the House Financial Services Committee, was approved for the post by House Republican leadership and could be confirmed this week.
Hensarling has been the frontrunner for months to take over the post in 2013 from Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who has served the maximum six years allowed under party rules as either chairman or ranking minority member.
Hensarling drew applause when called the CFPB and Dodd-Frank Act a “legislative drive-by shooting” for financial institutions at the NAFCU Congressional Caucus in September.
NAFCU’s Brad Thaler, vice president of legislative affairs, said Hensarling is a big advocate for regulatory relief, supporting some of the reforms NAFCU has been pushing.
“We’re looking forward to working with him on that in the new Congress,” Thaler said.
This summer, Hensarling co-sponsored and recorded a "yes" vote for H.R. 4367, a bill that would eliminate the placard ATM disclosure requirement that has spurred frivolous lawsuits against credit unions and banks. However, the legislation has stalled in the Senate, where it was referred to committee in July but since then, has seen no action.
Thaler also said Hensarling has always been open to hearing credit union industry concerns, and NAFCU has a good relationship with him.
“Even though we may not always see eye to eye on every issue, he’s always been fair and open, and I think he will be the same as chair of the committee,” he said.
Thaler pointed out that both Hensarling and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking minority party member on the committee, spoke at this year’s Congressional Caucus.
Credit unions will have other friends on the House Financial Services Committee in 2013. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) told Credit Union Times Tuesday night at CUNA’s Hike the Hill reception he will seek another term on the panel, and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) reminded the reception audience during his speech that he’s a credit union supporter and the senior-most member of the FSC.
However, Thaler said Hensarling’s support of winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the Texas congressman introduced legislation this year to that effect – would be of concern to NAFCU and credit unions.
“It could be a big focus on the Financial Services Committee over the next few years, how to handle the whole housing finance market,” Thaler said.