6 candidates to chair banking panel (if GOP keeps House)

WASHINGTON — Which party controls the House next year is still uncertain, but this much is clear: Someone other than Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling will hold the gavel on the Financial Services Committee.

Hensarling is not running for reelection. Should the Democrats take the House in midterm elections, his likely successor would be Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the panel’s current ranking member. But if the GOP holds on, a number of Republicans on the committee have put their names in the running to take the post, while some others are said to be contenders.

Whoever takes over the committee will play a critical role in setting the congressional agenda for Dodd-Frank reform, as well as regulatory policy for financial technology and the use of consumer data.

Observers point to Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. — now the panel’s vice chairman — as the most likely GOP successor to Hensarling. But McHenry may be considered to climb the GOP leadership ranks, which could open the door to other members being considered.

The committee last year shepherded the Financial Choice Act, Hensarling’s proposed overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, through the House. But that bill attracted insufficient Senate support. Hensarling sounded open in recent comments to passing a more modest reform package that originated in the Senate, but it is unclear if other Republicans on the panel will go along or continue to fight for a repeal of Obama-era regulations.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, is expected by many to be enacted before the midterm elections. That would preempt any further complications in passing regulatory relief that would arise from the Democrats seizing power in the House in November.

“The most likely scenario" is the Democrats take over the House and Waters is chair, said Aaron Klein, economic studies policy director at the Brookings Institution. “Should the [Republicans] maintain control of the House, a less than 50% proposition at the moment, then it’s likely [Rep. Patrick] McHenry unless he enters and wins a spot in leadership.”

So far, Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Frank Lucas, R-Okla., have publicly acknowledged their interest in taking Hensarling’s post.

Industry experts have also floated Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., as a possible candidate. And Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., could be in the running if Republicans hold the House given her leadership in pushing the Trump’s administration to kill the Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard for investment advisers.

Here is a rundown of possible GOP candidates to lead the Financial Services Committee in the new term:

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas
6 candidates to chair banking panel (if GOP keeps House)
WASHINGTON — Which party controls the House next year is still uncertain, but this much is clear: Someone other than Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling will hold the gavel on the Financial Services Committee.

Hensarling is not running for reelection. Should the Democrats take the House in midterm elections, his likely successor is Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the panel’s current ranking member. But if the GOP holds on, a number of Republicans on the committee have put their names in the running to take the post, while some others are said to be contenders.

Whoever takes over the committee will play a critical role in setting the congressional agenda for Dodd-Frank reform, as well as regulatory policy for financial technology and the use of consumer data.

Observers point to Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. — now the panel’s vice chairman — as the most likely GOP successor to Hensarling. But McHenry may be considered to climb the GOP leadership ranks, which could open the door to other members being considered.

The committee last year shepherded the Financial Choice Act, Hensarling’s proposed overhaul of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms, through the House. But that bill attracted insufficient Senate support. Hensarling sounded open in recent comments to passing a more modest reform package that originated in the Senate, but it is unclear if other Republicans on the panel will go along or continue to fight for a repeal of Obama-era regulations.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, is expected by many to be enacted before the midterm elections. That would preempt any further complications in passing regulatory relief that would arise from the Democrats seizing power in the House in November.

“The most likely scenario is the [Democrats] take over the House and [Rep. Maxine] Waters is chair,” said Aaron Klein, economic studies policy director at the Brookings Institution. “Should the [Republicans] maintain control of the House, a less than 50% proposition at the moment, then it’s likely [Rep. Patrick] McHenry unless he enters and wins a spot in leadership.”

So far, Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Frank Lucas, R-Okla., have publicly acknowledged their interest in taking Hensarling’s post.

Industry experts have also floated Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., as a possible candidate. And Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., could be in the running, if Republicans hold the House, given her leadership in pushing the Trump’s administration to kill the Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard for investment advisers.

Here is a rundown of possible GOP candidates to lead the Financial Services Committee in the new term:
Patrick McHenry
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.
McHenry is seen by many as the front-runner to succeed Hensarling. He currently holds the position as vice chair of the committee and has the support of at least two subcommittee chairmen.

Under McHenry’s leadership, the committee is likely to look more closely at measures dealing with fintech policy. He has previously backed legislation that would give fintech companies more flexibility to enable them to go to market sooner with their products. One idea he supports is creating “regulatory sandboxes” for fintech firms.

McHenry has also been a constant critic of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has called the CFPB’s “Project Catalyst” program — intended to encourage collaboration with startups, nonprofits and banks to test new products that foster innovation — a “failure.”

But McHenry, who is also the House Chief Deputy Whip, could be in line for a House leadership role when House Speaker Paul Ryan steps down at the end of his term. McHenry took over the responsibilities of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., while he was recovering from injuries sustained last year from the congressional baseball shooting last year.

McHenry told reporters last week that he would make his decision on whether to pursue a House leadership role after the 2018 midterms.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo.
Luetkemeyer, who chairs the financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee, said last week at an American Bankers Association conference that he was “actively pursuing” the position as chairman of the full committee.

“I hope to be the next chair of the Financial Services Committee,” Luetkemeyer said. “It would be a great honor to do that.”

Luetkemeyer has advocated for the lower chamber to have more input in the regulatory relief bill passed by the Senate to ease some of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations on community banks. He was able to get a bill passed through the House with 59 Democratic votes that would eliminate the dollar threshold for which banks are subject to enhanced regulatory scrutiny by the Federal Reserve.

That provision would have faced a steeper hurdle in the Senate, which was only able to raise the threshold from $50 billion to $250 billion in its deregulation bill, despite Republicans’ desire to eliminate the threshold entirely.

A Luetkemeyer chairmanship could also see more rollbacks of regulatory guidance. In November he called on bank regulators to draw up a list of guidance going back 20 years to determine whether it should be submitted under the Congressional Review Act.
Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.
Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.
Last year, Duffy moved from his post as chairman of the panel’s oversight and investigations subcommittee to the housing and insurance subcommittee. He has been an advocate for Hensarling’s agenda of rolling back Dodd-Frank and has been a staunch critic of the CFPB.

Although he has not explicitly said he is eyeing the chairman position, the former “Real World” star has not ruled out the possibility of running the committee.

“Our committee is still led by Chairman Hensarling for several months, and I would have hoped that we that could get through all the work we have to do — and most importantly through the November election — before this topic even came up,” Duffy said last week.

Having been head of the housing subcommittee, Duffy could emphasize efforts to reform the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if he held the gavel for the full committee.
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Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.
Huizenga has also put his name in the running to chair the House Financial Services Committee. He currently chairs the panel’s subcommittee on capital markets, securities and investment — a post he took over in January 2017 after former Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., lost his bid for re-election.

He said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he would support McHenry as chairman of the committee if McHenry didn’t pursue a House leadership role, but that he would like the opportunity to chair the committee as well.

“I’m working very hard to make sure that we are in the majority to then even have the opportunity to become the next chairman,” Huizenga said. “That’s something I’m absolutely interested in. A number of my colleagues encouraged me to do that.”

Huizenga’s time on the committee has largely been focused on making it easier for companies to go public. He has also described cryptocurrencies as an “innovative vehicle” to help startups access capital and indicated his support for legislation to facilitate initial coin offerings.
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Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.
Lucas may be a long shot to take Hensarling’s post, but he expressed his interest in chairing a House committee next Congress. Aside from House Financial Services, Lucas said chairing the House Science Committee also appeals to him.

“At this point in time, I am interested in both and my colleagues up here know that,” Lucas told The Oklahoman newspaper in November. “I don't think my colleagues are that surprised I'm primarily concerned about financial services, but this is a time in life when having options is a good thing.”

While Lucas has not been particularly active on the committee and rarely comments at hearings, he did challenge Hensarling back in 2014 to chair the committee.

He previously chaired the House Agriculture Committee from 2011 to 2015.
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Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.
Wagner, who chairs the panel’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations, has not publicly said whether she is interested in chairing the full committee, but she has been active in pushing measures to reduce regulations.

Wagner helped lead the charge to get President Trump to sign an executive order, just weeks into his presidency, to halt a Labor Department rule that would require retirement advisers to act in their clients’ best interest.

Like many in her caucus, she was a harsh critic of former CFPB Director Richard Cordray. She issued a press release with just two words to say about his November 2017 resignation: “good riddance.”

She also criticized the CFPB for its failure to properly investigate Wells Fargo over opening millions of unauthorized accounts.
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