Federal Update - December 2018
Quarterly Federal Update – December 2018
Congress has not yet concluded business for the year as the federal government partially shut down on December 21 when Congress did not pass a budget bill. Congress is back in session today to address the issue, but no spending bills have been proposed yet. The current shutdown affects around one-quarter of the federal government, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation, and NASA. There is no clear timeframe for how long the shutdown will last, and movement on credit union priorities is not expected until a spending bill is passed.
In this Issue:
- 2018 Election Results
- Grassley New Finance Chair
- PKC Update
- New CFPB Director Confirmed
- ADA Roundtable
- CFPB Ombudsman 2018 Annual Report
- Mark Your Calendar: GAC 2019
2018 Election Results
The November elections brought several changes to Congress. The House flipped to Democratic control leading to a divided Congress, where the Senate remains in Republican control. The elections also resulted in two new Iowa Congresswomen, Cindy Axne defeated Congressman David Young and Abby Finkenauer defeated Congressman Rod Blum. CULAC (Credit Union Legislative Action Committee) supported Abby Finkenauer during the campaign. Both are the first two female Representatives from Iowa and will be sworn in January 3, 2019.
CUNA published a post-election analysis of how the results may affect credit union issues. Click here to read their report.
Grassley New Finance Chair
Senator Grassley is giving up his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee to serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. His new role will begin in January when the new Congress is sworn in. Grassley previously served as chairman of Senate Finance from 2003 to 2007. His stated priorities for the committee include:
- Holding the IRS accountable to taxpayers,
- Ensuring the nonprofit sector is living up to the purpose of its tax-exempt status,
- Standing up for tax whistleblowers who expose tax cheats, and
- Tracking down and addressing tax shelters.
The application process for the Principal Key Contact (PKC) program closed earlier this month. Thanks to all who applied for this important program. PKCs act as a direct point of contact with each member of Iowa’s congressional delegation and deliver important information on behalf of all of Iowa’s credit unions. The 2019-20 PKCs will be announced in the near future.
New CFPB Director Confirmed
On December 6, the Senate confirmed Kathy Kraninger as permanent director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on a 50-49 vote. Kraninger previously served in the Office of Management and Budget and will replace Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. She will serve a five-year term in her new role.
Despite a lack of legislative movement, the issue of website accessibility continues to be a topic of conversation. This fall, CUNA staff, state credit union leagues, and individual credit unions participated in a Department of Justice roundtable in Washington, D.C. on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which covered website accessibility among other topics.
CFPB Ombudsman Releases 2018 Annual Report
The CFPB’s Ombudsman’s office released its 2018 annual report. The report, which is required to be released on an annual basis, summarizes initiatives undertaken by the office in fiscal year 2018.
The 2018 report highlights new internal and external engagement efforts as well as project updates, and recommendations on specific topics studied by the office over the past year.
The Ombudsman’s office was established by the Dodd-Frank Act to help resolve issues that consumers, financial entities, and other groups may have with the Bureau.
You may read the full report here.
Mark Your Calendar: GAC 2019
The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) will be held March 10-13, 2019 in Washington D.C. The annual conference is a great opportunity to learn more about legislative issues of importance to the credit union industry, network with other credit union executives, and travel to Capitol Hill to meet with Iowa members of Congress. Registration for the conference is already open.
Click here for a look at an early draft of this year's GAC agenda and schedule.