Fiscal Cliff Could Kill Holiday Plans But Help Privacy Bill
Slow-moving fiscal cliff negotiations could keep members of Congress in Washington past Christmas and even into 2013, which could mean good news for pending legislation supported by credit unions.
Brad Thaler, NAFCU vice president of legislative affairs, said the current word on Capitol Hill is that Congress could work through this weekend up until Christmas Eve, and could also return for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
That’s a change from the House and Senate 2012 calendars, which show both bodies would adjourn for the year on Friday.
Washington publication The Hill backed up Thaler’s observation, reporting today that GOP leaders have told their members in the House to be prepared to return to Washington after Christmas because “serious differences” remain in fiscal cliff negotiations.
H.R. 5817, which would eliminate the required annual privacy notice mailing, is scheduled for a vote in the House today, Thaler said.
The bill was supposed to be considered last week, but the bill’s language triggered Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) to withdraw her motion to take the bill to a vote. That language has been resolved, Thaler said.
If the bill passes the House today, it would still need to be considered and passed by the Senate before the new Congress is sworn in Jan. 3. Any extra session time could mean the bill has a better chance of becoming law this year.
Despite the extra days in Washington, Thaler said the privacy notice bill still faces an uphill battle in the Senate, because the upper chamber isn’t very familiar with it.
“It would probably have to go by unanimous consent in the Senate,” Thaler said. “It’s been in the House for a number of months, not in the Senate, so I don’t know how much attention folks in the Senate have paid to it. The challenge will be getting people comfortable with it in a short amount of time.”
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and currently has 43 sponsors.