House Democrats launch bid to overturn OCC's CRA rule
WASHINGTON — House Democrats introduced a resolution to throw out a rule by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reforming the Community Reinvestment Act, escalating their fight with the agency over the anti-redlining law.
“The Community Reinvestment Act is an essential law that was put in place to prevent redlining and to require banks to invest and lend responsibly in the communities where they are chartered,” House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters said in a press release.
Yet the resolution announced late Thursday is a largely symbolic gesture in the current political environment. Lawmakers have the ability to overturn recent regulations under the Congressional Review Act, but any measure blocking a rule requires a majority vote from both chambers of Congress as well as a presidential signature. The Trump administration and GOP-run Senate are unlikely to back the resolution.
Still, Waters objected to the OCC's reforms, which were finalized in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is completely unacceptable for the OCC to use the cover of a pandemic to rush out a rule that will be harmful to communities that are already suffering during this crisis,” she said. “This resolution we introduced today will right that wrong.”
The OCC, led by then-Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, finalized its reform of the Community Reinvestment Act in late May, capping off a contentious rulemaking process that often came under scrutiny from Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee.
With the 2020 election just months away, Thursday’s resolution could still be a warning shot should Democrats win the White House and a new administration appoints regulators who attempt to write a new CRA rule. The current rule, meanwhile, is subject to a Congressional Review Act challenge within 60 legislative days of the rule’s publication.