WASHINGTON The House approved eight regulatory relief bills Tuesday evening, including two controversial measures opposed by a number of Democratic lawmakers and the White House.
The bills would impose changes to new mortgage rules, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other financial provisions. The measures now move to the Senate for consideration, as the Banking Committee pulls together its own regulatory reform package for a vote next month.
"The American dream for so many low- and moderate-income Americans is that one day they can achieve financial independence," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the Financial Services Committee. "We are trying to ensure that low- and moderate-income Americans have convenience, that they have choice, that they have lower prices."
Lawmakers debated two housing bills that would change the way certain points and fees are calculated under the CFPB's "qualified mortgage" rule and remove restrictions on the sale of some mobile homes. The points and fees bill passed 286-140 and the manufactured housing bill passed 263-162.
Many Democrats opposed the measures, and the White House issued a veto threat Monday on both provisions in separate Statements of Administration Policy.
"By exempting certain fees from the three percent cap, H.R. 685 would allow lenders to increase the cost of loans and still be eligible for 'Qualified Mortgage' treatment," the administration wrote of the points and fees bill. "This revision risks eroding consumer protections and returning the mortgage market to the days of careless lending focused on short-term profits."
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the ranking member on the banking panel, said Monday that the bills would "weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, roll back key protections for homeowners and leave consumers vulnerable to the same kinds of predatory lending practices that were all too common leading up to the financial crisis."
The chamber also passed half a dozen other bills by voice vote. Those provisions would allow financial institutions to send out privacy notices when disclosures change rather than annually; require that any privileged information shared between state and federal regulators be kept confidential; decrease check-clearing times in some U.S. territories; mandate the CFPB hold open meetings; establish a designation appeals process for the definition of "rural" under the QM rule; and allow privately insured credit unions to access the Federal Home Loan Bank System.