WASHINGTON — After a grueling defeat for their health care bill last week, Senate Republicans are expected to turn to other priorities, including attempting to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule banning mandatory arbitration clauses.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said he hoped for a vote “before the August recess,” though it wasn’t clear that was going to happen.
“We don’t have a definite commitment” on the timing of a Senate vote, Crapo said last week.
Republicans just need 50 votes in the Senate to pass the measure under the Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to reject a regulation by a majority vote within 60 legislative days after receiving notice that the rule was published in the Federal Register.
But there are signs that — like with the health care measure — the GOP may be missing a few key votes. If more than two senators defect, the measure will fail unless a few Democrats join the effort measure, which appears unlikely.
“At this point, we think the chances are less than 50/50 that the Senate will pass the CRA resolution blocking the arbitration rule,” Brian Gardner, a policy analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said in a note to clients. “The Senate's floor schedule is likely to be crowded in the coming months with higher priorities” such as budget bills, the debt ceiling, tax reform and possibly health care.
Lauren Saunders, associate director at the National Consumer Law Center, said, “They are going to have trouble finding enough Republican votes.”
However, some bank lobbyists say they might still have a chance, pointing to other successful motions to repeal rules using the Congressional Review Act.
“Virtually all of” the Congressional Review Act resolutions that “have been brought up … have passed,” said Paul Merski, executive vice president of congressional relations for the Independent Community Bankers of America.
The Idaho Republican would have some sway with members, Merski said. “Chairman Crapo … gets calls into anyone who might be wavering. It should be a pretty solid vote," he said.
Following is a look at the Republican senators lobbyists are watching closely.