GOP To Seek To Slow Pace Of New Rules

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WASHINGTON – With a new Congress to begin its work on Wednesday, much of the attention will be on a Republican bid to repeal the health care legislation passed by the previous Congress.

But it also will mean new chairman for the House’s and Senate’s respective financial services committees and a new agenda that will affect credit unions. GOP leaders have indicated their plan is to slow the pace of legislation and regulation.

“We’ll not try to set the world’s record on how much legislation we can put out and how many hearings we can have and markups,” Rep. Randy Neugebauer, who will chair the oversight subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee in the House, told American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal. “You know it was a marathon, the 111th Congress was. I think we will be more deliberative, more participatory. We will not be in a hurry, but we will be methodical to make sure we get to the bottom of an issue.”

Clearly the dominant, pressing unfinished financial services issue is restructuring the mortgage finance system and figuring out what to do with the government-sponsored enterprises, American Banker noted.

“The biggest issue to me is to deal with the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac piece and to really create some certainty and a glide slope as it relates to residential finance, and … it needs to be something that is thought through,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “That’s the elephant in the room. That’s the big issue. That’s the one that is the most important from the standpoint of our country’s overall health.”

However, it is difficult to predict how far Congress will get on the GSE issue in 2011, particularly with both sides wary that any move might worsen the housing market.

As a result, oversight of the Dodd-Frank Act has become the prevailing theme for lawmakers as they discuss their agendas.

“We just passed this huge new piece of legislation and now all these agencies and regulators that are impacted are going to be writing rules to implement that,” Neugebauer told American Banker. “I felt like the legislation itself was very forward-reaching, and I’m very concerned that the regulators and agencies may take it even further than that. And so I think we have to be very careful that that’s not the case.”


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