WASHINGTON — The House passed a massive $340 billion transportation bill on Thursday, striking two key provisions hated by the banking industry while adding several other measures that could affect financial institutions.
The House bill, which passed 363 to 64, amended the Senate's DRIVE Act to strike a provision that would have paid for the bill by slashing dividends paid to banks by the Federal Reserve Board. It also eliminated a provision that would have extended an increase in guarantee fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Instead, Reps. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., successfully added an amendment that would liquidate a $29.3 billion surplus account at the Fed and deposit the balance into the general fund.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, also succeeded in adding a Frankenstein amendment that contained the texts of 15 different bills that had been approved previously by the House. The bills would, among other things, ease annual privacy notice requirements for certain financial institutions, allow privately-insured credit unions to become members of the Federal Home Loan Bank system and let more banks qualify for less regular on-site exams from regulators.
The financial services industry is not celebrating yet. House and Senate leaders must still negotiate on a final bill, reconciling the differences between their respective versions.