WASHINGTON-Spots on the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees are somewhat up in the air until the 109th Congress is sworn in next year, according to credit union lobbyists. “I was talking to some friends on the Hill, Republicans, and they are waiting to see if the House Financial Services Committee will become an `A’ committee,” NAFCU Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Debbie Kwon-Moore said. She explained that certain committees are more desirable than others-right now this includes the Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Commerce committees-and Financial Services may be added to this list; members of these committees may not serve on the others out of fairness to the other members. Currently, there are a few members of the Commerce Committee who also serve on Financial Services. Kwon-Moore explained that the House Financial Services Committee became “popular” when it received its name change from the House Banking Committee, conveying some of the authorities of Commerce, and Ohio Congressman Mike Oxley (R) took over. Representative Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) may be one face returning to the House Financial Services Committee. She previously served on the committee but took a leave of absence to serve on the Rules Committee, which she plans to vacate, according to Kwon-Moore. Speculation is Pryce would be reinstated with her original seniority, somewhere around the level of House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), though it is unclear whether she will obtain a subcommittee chairmanship, Kwon-Moore said. She added that NAFCU has had a good working relationship with Pryce and her staff. Kwon-Moore pointed out that she used to work in Congressman Steven LaTourette’s (R-Ohio) office and the Ohio connection helps. Additionally, she said that Representatives Melissa Hart (R-Pa.) and Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio) are looking to leave the Financial Services Committee to join the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Kwon-Moore’s counterpart at NAFCU keeping an eye on the Senate, Dillon Shea, said the Senate Banking Committee will be seeing a new face. Freshman Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), the former Housing and Urban Development secretary, will join the committee. Martinez will replace Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), who is leaving the committee. Shea said that NAFCU’s regulatory staff worked with HUD previously, especially during the revision of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. With the absence of retired Senator Zell Miller (Ga.) in the Democrats column, that leaves the Banking committee with 11 Republicans and nine Democrats, reflecting the Republican gains in the 2004 elections. [email protected]

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