WASHINGTON (12/1/15)--The Thanksgiving holiday is over, left-over leftovers have been tossed, and business returns to Capitol Hill. The U.S. Congress is back in session facing serious deadlines before lawmakers adjourn for the year.
A conference committee is currently considering H.R. 22, referred to most often as "the highway bill." The panel must work out differences between that House bill and its Senate counterpart, with a looming Dec. 4 deadline. That's the date on which authorization for the Highway Trust Fund expires.
The bill is important to credit unions because the House-passed reauthorization includes two credit union provisions strongly supported by CUNA: one would modernize privacy notification requirements and the other would permit privately insured credit unions to join the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system.
"We have been working to make sure these provisions survive the conference and we hope final action will be taken on the bill this week," CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan said Monday.
CUNA is also closely monitoring the omnibus federal government appropriations bill, as funding for the U.S. government is set to expire Dec. 11--just 10 days away.
The bill is important to credit unions in a specific way because the legislation from both chambers include credit union-supported provisions.
The Senate bill has nearly a dozen CUNA-backed regulatory relief provisions that would benefit credit unions. They include legislative language that would deem mortgages held in portfolio as Qualified Mortgages, provide for greater National Credit Union Administration budget transparency, and address concerns with the Federal Housing Finance Agency's proposal on FHLB membership requirements.
The House version include measures related to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure.
CUNA's Donovan noted that there have been efforts--including a notable push by Senate Banking Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)--to ensure inclusion of some relief provisions in the omnibus appropriations bill. Earlier this year, Shelby introduced a package of relief provisions for credit unions and other financial institutions, some of which are currently found in the Senate funding bill.
"While we are very certain that several provisions will not make the final cut, we continue to press for inclusion of as many as possible," Donovan said.
CUNA is also following several hearings this week, including a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing today on "The Disrupter Series: Mobile Payments." Also on CUNA's radar: