Reg relief in limbo as House, Senate refuse to budge
WASHINGTON — A bill to provide community banks with regulatory relief remains stuck as House and Senate lawmakers are still at odds over whether to add additional provisions to the Senate effort.
Senators on the Banking Committee are standing firm that no further measures should be added for fear it will jeopardize a bipartisan agreement in the chamber. They argue the House should pass the Senate version and send it to President Trump.
“This bill will not pass if it comes back to the Senate,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said at an American Bankers Association conference here Tuesday. “We stretched this about as far as we can go. The House of Representatives needs to accept this legislation. We included huge amounts of bipartisan legislation from the House.”
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, agreed, saying he favors provisions that would reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but there wouldn't be enough support from Democrats to get the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. As a result, lawmakers should focus on passing the Senate bill in its current form, he said.
“The plan right now is to get S 2155 passed,” Crapo said.
But Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., and Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said the House will continue to push their own measures, focusing on ones that received bipartisan support in their chamber.
“The Senate can tell us to pass the bill, but we still have to do our job, which is look at the bill, decide if it’s something we can accept, decide if it’s something we want to improve,” said Luetkemeyer, who chairs the financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee. “Let’s look at the range that has two-thirds of our members supporting and take a look at the bill. If there’s something that’s controversial, then kick it out.”
McHenry, the vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said it is possible that the House could write a separate deregulation package for the Senate to consider.
“It’s a question or if it’s one package or two packages and when,” McHenry told reporters. “We can take the bill and send it to the president, we can amend it and send it back, or we can send a separate package over to the Senate to see if they will take floor time to deal with that.”
Despite their disagreements with the Senate, Luetkemeyer and McHenry say they are hopeful that Congress will be able to enact Dodd-Frank reform before the August recess.
“I would like to see it done as quickly as possible,” Luetkemeyer said. “The longer you let it delay I think the more difficult it gets. I would hope it would be pre-August recess.”
“I think we will get Dodd-Frank reform signed by the president,” McHenry said.