The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have gone home for their summer breaks. They will not return to Washington, D.C ., until after Labor Day. Upon their return, they will be faced with numerous deadlines to reauthorize organizations and to pass budgets for the coming year. Despite a flurry of activity by the House Financial Services Committee that passed out multiple industry-backed regulatory relief bills, there remains much to do ‒ but few remaining legislative calendar days ‒ to accomplish meaningful bank regulatory relief this year.
While there is much bipartisan support for passage of a bank regulatory relief bill, and I believe that one will pass, I admit that I am getting nervous. The aforementioned calendar days are squeezed by “must do” issues regarding budgets and reauthorizations, such as the possible reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, that will take precedence over banking bills. And even though there is another year ahead to capitalize on our momentum, it will be a presidential election year during which, recent history indicates, little will get done.
Complicating matters, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs and the House Financial Services Committee take very different approaches, and reconciling those differences will be a monumental, time-consuming task. I believe that it will require a significant effort in the Senate to achieve agreement on a bill that both Democrats and Republicans will support. If that happens, then this agreement will have to be negotiated with the House of Representatives. The House has approved several separate bills which have bipartisan support, but others do not. We have a long way to go.
The good news is that both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House support common sense regulatory relief efforts. This environment is a first since the financial crisis reared its ugly head in 2008. Momentum is an important element to the passage of legislation, and the banking industry is seeing more momentum now than at any time in the past 15 years. These are important characteristics to the passage of a banking bill.
Another positive is that there are mainstream champions on both sides of the aisle. Our esteemed Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, is an advocate for getting a bill passed and is working with a team to negotiate a bill that all can agree to. Sen. Donnelly will be key to this process, and we appreciate his willingness to lead.
Indiana as a whole will be key to this process. In addition to Sen. Donnelly, two Indiana representatives, Marlin Stutzman and Luke Messer, both Republicans, sit on the House Financial Services Committee. Both of these members are supportive of bank regulatory relief efforts. The Indiana Bankers Association continues to work with all three of these Hoosier legislators to advocate for the passage of regulatory relief to allow bankers to serve consumers in their pursuit of the American dream. Whether that dream is to buy a car, build a home or start a business, bankers must be freed from the excessive regulations that are hindering, if not preventing, them from providing needed services.
We thank Sen. Donnelly, Rep. Stutzman and Rep. Messer for their support of the ability of bankers to serve their customers and improve the economy one loan at a time!
– S. Joe DeHaven