Hensarling signals he may leave Senate reg relief bill unchanged

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WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, on Thursday suggested he is open to keeping regulatory relief provisions passed by his panel out of a more comprehensive bill that originated in the Senate.

Hensarling and other House members have pushed for the Senate bill — known as S.2155 — to be expanded with additional measures to ease regulatory burdens on community banks. But he appeared to acknowledge concerns that expanding the bill could compel key Senate Democrats to withdraw their support.

Speaking before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hensarling said he would support the House-passed measures advancing even if they move independently of the Senate bill.

“I’d be happy to attend multiple signing ceremonies in the White House,” Hensarling said at the Chamber of Commerce's Capital Markets Summit. “I would prefer that it be in 2155, but if not, we are certainly open to other pathways.”

The comments came as members of the Senate Banking Committee — including the bill's chief sponsor, Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho — appear to want the House to move their legislation without adding further measures for fear that it will jeopardize the bipartisan agreement. The success of Crapo's bill relies on a group of moderate Democrats who have backed it but said they oppose going further.

But Hensarling is asking the Senate to consider a number of bills passed by the House with bipartisan or unanimous support. He said the Senate should tell the House which bills it won’t pass and offer a “pathway to success” for the bills that could get enough votes in the chamber.

“I know that ultimately the fate of these House bills rests in approximately eight self-styled moderate Senate Democrats,” Hensarling said.

Crapo and other Senate Republicans have admitted that they wanted other measures included in their deregulatory bill, such as provisions that would reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but there would not be enough support from Democrats to get the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., also warned earlier this week that a bill with changes in the House would not pass the Senate, saying Democrats were stretched as far as they can go with their agreement. He also said the Senate bill contains a number of measures recommended by the House.

Hensarling, who plans to retire from the House at the end of his term this year, said he will continue to push for the House to have a voice in deregulation.

"The House is not a potted plant," Hensarling said. "The House will be heard."

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