Washington Update

News ,

Washington is gearing up for another jam-packed few weeks, following a turbulent month of September that concluded without a deal on the infrastructure and reconciliation measures. Simultaneously Congress had to address several must-do’s including government funding and continue carrying on with Committee work and hearings...not the least of which was to confirm the new CFPB Director, Rohit Chopra.

NCBA continues to monitor two bills that have already passed the House, the debt collection package (H.R. 2547) including the SCAM Debt Act Amendment (H.R.1671) and the medical debt amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 4350). The focus of our efforts is to prevent these bills, or portions of them, from being included in a larger legislative package as part of partisan negotiations.

Below is an outlook into future Congressional activity including National and Federal activities and full schedule of hearings and activity in both the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees.

Debt Ceiling/Government Funding

Despite postponing a vote on infrastructure, Congress avoided a government shutdown on September 30th (end of the 2021 fiscal year) by passing a continuing resolution to extend government funding through December 3rd. Senators voted 65-35 in favor of the stopgap funding measure which includes disaster relief aid and funding for Afghan refugees but does not include a suspension of the debt limit.

If Senate Republicans continue to block efforts to suspend the debt ceiling, and Democrats do not pursue addressing this issue through reconciliation, there likely will be calls for Democrats to eliminate the filibuster, at least to pass a debt limit increase.

Additionally, the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is still scheduled to be on the Senate floor the week of October 18th.

The House version of Fiscal year 2022 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is scheduled for the Senate floor the week of October 18th and as currently written incorporates Rep. Talib’s (D-MI) amendment on medical debt. The amendment adopted with 5 Republicans voting in favor, could foreshadow similar treatment by some Senate Republicans. The amendment is not limited to active-duty military members only and amends the FDCPA to prohibit the collection of any medical debt for 2 years incurred by consumers who at the time were members of the Armed Services.

There are ongoing efforts from the Credit Reporting Agencies and others against the provision and we will continue to stay on top of this.

Infrastructure/Reconciliation

President Biden spent the end of September driving support within his party for both infrastructure bills – the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF) and the Democratic budget reconciliation proposal. He had several conversations with Democratic holdouts Senators Sinema (D-AZ) and Manchin (D-WV) and went to the Capitol to join the House Democratic Caucus meeting. Despite these last-minute efforts, the month concluded without a deal to pass the measures. Democratic leadership provided a new target date of October 31st to pass the measures, given that the 30-day funding for federal highway programs will expire November 1.

Senate Banking Committee

While the full schedule for SBC remains in flux, the Committee will kick off the month with a vote on a slate of nominations. Following the nominations hearing, SBC will immediately convene for a hearing focused on the potential national security and economic implications of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

House Financial Services Committee

HFSC has another full schedule for the month, beginning this week with an appearance from SEC Chair Gensler, followed by various additional hearings later in the month-all with an emphasis on consumer protection.

CFPB - Director Rohit Chopra to Testify

HFSC will conclude October with possibly the most highly-anticipated hearing of the month – a CFPB oversight hearing with the new CFPB Director, Rohit Chopra (who was confirmed on a party-line basis late last week). We expect Chopra will underscore his emphasis on oversight and enforcement and a priority on fair lending laws. He will be pressed by HFSC members to deliver his priority agenda for the Bureau under his leadership. He will also be asked on his plans for the Bureau related to debt collection, credit reporting and FCRA enforcement, mortgage lending, student loan issues and algorithmic bias in underwriting, among other items.

HFSC Hearing Details:

  • October 27 at 10:00 AM ET: The full Committee will convene for a hybrid hearing entitled, “Bringing Consumer Protection Back: A Semi-Annual Review of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

To support NCBA’s 2021 advocacy, please consider contributions to the NCBA PAC and/or Advocacy Support Fund.

Questions? Please contact [email protected].