House, Senate Pushing Bipartisan Dodd-Frank Changes
With Republican large-scale effort to overhaul Dodd-Frank stalled, there are signs that bipartisan efforts on both sides of Capitol Hill to make incremental changes are gaining momentum.
The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday began marking up 23 bills that includes smaller regulatory changes—Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) estimated that 78% of the bills will have bipartisan support.
Committee ranking Democrat Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said that while she was concerned by the volume of legislation the committee was considering in one day, she was pleased that several of the bills had been produced following bipartisan negotiations.
On the Senate side, sources in the Washington credit union community said that Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID.) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Sherrod Brown of Ohio may be close to unveiling bipartisan legislation to make changes to Dodd-Frank.
The House earlier this year passed Hensarling’s Financial CHOICE Act without any Democratic support. Senators made it clear that they would not consider that bill.
In any event, it could not have passed the Senate since the bill would have required 60 votes in that body and the bill’s changes to the CFPB would not gain that support.
On Wednesday, the panel began marking up 23 bills—several of which were endorsed by credit union trade groups.
For instance, the committee was considering legislation that would require federal financial regulators to consider the risk profile financial institutions pose before enacting regulations.
Many Democrats are expected to oppose that bill, with Waters saying that it would loosen regulations too much.
The committee also was scheduled to consider legislation that would increase the CFPB’s supervisory threshold from $10 billion in assets to $50 billion in assets.
The House panel is attempting to pass “small but meaningful” legislation that the Senate might be willing to consider, said one source in the Washington, D.C. credit union community.
Financial Services had said they would undertake an effort to make legislation more palatable to the Senate.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo), chairman of the House Financial Institutions Subcommittee, told the NAFCU Congressional Caucus last month that the House was likely to consider a “buffet of bills to choose from.”
On the Senate side, Crapo and Brown have not tipped their hands about what their legislation will include.
However, last week, four Democratic members of the Banking Committees—Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester—wrote a letter to the leaders of the panel pledging support for a bipartisan effort.
“Please know that we support your efforts and strongly encourage you to reach an agreement on a regulatory reform package that can come before the committee for consideration in the coming weeks,” the senators wrote.
John McKechnie, a senior partner at Total Spectrum said there “have been rumors of secret, bi-partisan meetings among Senate Banking staffers that may result in a draft bill.”
Still, there are deep divisions among senators about what can be achieved. Many Republicans would like to see the powers of the CFPB greatly curtailed, but Brown and other Democrats are strong supporters of the agency.
McKechnie said he was not sure that a compromise may be reached.
“In concept, there are a lot of votes for reg relief targeted at credit unions and smaller banks,” he said. But the specifics. There’s the rub. I’m hopeful, but at the same time skeptical, that middle ground can be found on something this complex and controversial. “