Congress Irons Out Details In Fair Credit Bill

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House and Senate conferees were finishing up work to iron out the differences between the separate fair credit bills late last week.

The measure to reauthorize the federal preemptions of state credit reporting laws is one of the last bills moving in Congress this year, as lawmakers race to complete their work before returning home for the holiday season. The only other bills moving ahead at this time are the massive spending and energy packages that are expected to be battled over until the last minute.

The possibility of attaching the fair credit bill to one of the must-pass spending packages was discussed, but lawmakers are still working to pass the credit bill as a separate piece of legislation, according to credit union lobbyists.

The fair credit bill is almost certain to pass in the final days of this year's congressional session, because the federal preemptions in the current law are due to expire at the end of the year. Still, such a deadline didn't stop Congress from letting the flood insurance law expire at the end of last year, before passing a retroactive reauthorization in the first days of this year's session.

By the way, that flood insurance issue is still hanging around, as the reauthorization early this year was only for one year. That leaves Congress once again scrambling to reauthorize the federal program that finances homeowners insurance for those properties located on a flood plain.

One of the major spending bills expected to be passed before lawmakers leave will authorize new money again for NCUA's Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. The House and Senate have included differed appropriations for the fund, with the Senate bill providing an additional $1.5 million and the House bill $1 million. NCUA officials say they expect the final version to be closer to the lower figure.

The spending bill would also renew the $1.5 billion borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury for the Central Liquidity Facility, the emergency loan fund for credit unions that is managed by NCUA and owned by U.S. Central CU.

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