Federal Update - October 2018
Quarterly Congressional Update – October 2018
Congress is at a standstill until the midterm elections are over as both the House and Senate are in recess until then. After Election Day, Congress will enter a “lame duck session” until January, when new members of Congress are sworn in. During this interim, Congress will be focused on passing a Farm Bill and a federal budget. We do not expect to see much movement on credit union priorities until the new year.
In this Issue:
- Federal Questionnaire Responses
- PKCs Visit D.C.
- In-District Advocacy
- Relevant Legislation
- BCFP Director Nomination
- Mark Your Calendar: GAC 2019
Federal Candidate Questionnaire Responses
Every election cycle, ICUL sends out a questionnaire to each congressional candidate. The questionnaire covers policy matters important to credit unions. You can read candidates’ responses in our Allies Document. Feel free to share with other credit union advocates.
Earlier this month, ICUL launched an Election Toolkit to give credit union advocates a convenient resource to engage in the democratic process. Visit the ICUL Election page to find out what candidates are in your community, which candidates are supported by CUPAC, marketing tools and talking points.
Principal Key Contacts (PKC) Visit D.C.
ICUL leadership and the PKCs traveled to Washington, D.C., on September 25-27 to visit with members of the Iowa delegation and the National Credit Union Administration. The PKCs on the trip included Jenny Lorenz (Linn Area CU), Helen Pearce (Cedar Falls Community CU), Gary Key (Cornerstone Community CU), Jeff Disterhoft (University of Iowa Community CU), Scott Zahnle (Greater Iowa CU), and Pat Drennen (1st Gateway CU).
The meetings with the Iowa delegation focused on three main topics:
- tax reform and the value to consumers of the maintaining the credit union tax exemption;
- data security and the need for merchants to be covered by the same data security requirements that apply to credit unions and banks, and
- opposition to recent legislation that would subject credit unions to CRA requirements.
To see some photos from the visits, click HERE.
Credit union advocates have been busy this quarter meeting with members of Congress while they’ve been back in Iowa. The meetings provide opportunities for credit unions to discuss issues affecting the industry and share success stories from members.
Click HERE to see photos from some of the meetings.
ADA Letters and Department of Justice (DOJ) Response
On September 5th, six U.S. Senators, including Senators Grassley and Ernst, wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging the DOJ to take action to address the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website accessibility issue.
This latest letter adds to the growing support for DOJ action, including a bipartisan group of 103 Members of Congress and 19 State Attorneys General, including Iowa’s Attorney General, Tom Miller.
The DOJ sent a letter at the end of September in response to the letters it has received from Congress and Attorneys General. In the letter, the Department outlined its general position on ADA website accessibility:
- DOJ has interpreted the ADA to apply to websites of public accommodations for over 20 years.
- The absence of a specific regulation does not serve as a basis for noncompliance with the ADA statute.
- The absence of a specific regulation allows public accommodations “flexibility in how to comply with the ADA’s general requirements of nondiscrimination and effective communication.”
- Noncompliance with a voluntary technical standard for website accessibility does not necessarily indicate noncompliance with the ADA.
You can read the letter from the DOJ here. We will continue to work with CUNA on this important matter.
CRA and the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act
Last week, Senator Warren introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act (S.3503), which addresses the affordable housing shortage through a number of new programs and initiatives. One section of the bill subjects all credit unions to CRA regulations.
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was passed in 1977 to reduce discriminatory lending practices against low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Credit unions have always been exempt from CRA regulations because they have never been found to engage in such practices.
While well-intentioned, the bill actually increases the regulatory burden on an industry that has never been a part of the problem. ICUL has reached out to Senators Grassley and Ernst to communicate our opposition.
Click here to read Jim Nussle’s letter to the Senate about the bill.
Financial Reporting Threshold Modernization Act
Representative Loudermilk recently introduced legislation, the Financial Reporting Threshold Modernization Act (H.R. 6850), to modernize Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting thresholds. Originally passed in 1970, the BSA set the threshold for filing Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) at $10,000. That threshold has never changed, despite decades of inflation.
Specifically, Loudermilk’s bill would:
- Increase the CTR threshold to $30,000, up from the current $10,000.
- Increase the dollar amount thresholds for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to $10,000 (up from $5,000) and to $3,000 (up from $2,000).
On August 23, the Senate Banking committee voted in favor of Kathy Kraninger to become the permanent director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) by a vote of 13-12. Kraninger, who currently serves in the Office of Management and Budget, was nominated by President Donald Trump in June to take the place of Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.
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.