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So far David Rugg has created 77 blog entries.

H. R. 4545, Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act.

This bill amends the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act of 1978 to:  set deadlines for final examination reports and exit interviews of a financial institution by a federal financial regulatory agency, and establish the Office of Independent Examination Review to adjudicate appeals and investigate complaints from financial institutions concerning examination reports. The bill also requires the establishment of an independent internal agency appellate process at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for the review of supervisory determinations made at institutions supervised by the CFPB.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“H.R. 4545 would enable any bank, regardless of size, to appeal and postpone material supervisory determinations by the bank’s regulator, which include adverse determinations such as a downgrade of a bank’s rating for capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to market risks (CAMELS); significant deficiencies in the institution’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) program; findings related to violations of various regulations; or a downgrade of a bank’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating. The bill would create a new Office of Independent Examination Review within the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (“FFIEC”) and allow depository institutions that receive such a determination to be able to appeal the determination to the review office. This bill would make it more likely that megabanks would be able to escape or delay accountability for egregious violations of federal laws protecting consumers and the economy.” (Source: Minority Views, House Report 115-589, Committee on Financial Services)

“On behalf of Americans for Financial Reform, we are writing to urge you to vote in opposition to H.R. 4545, the “Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act,” which is being considered on the House floor this week.[1] “Examination fairness” may sound innocuous, but make no mistake—this legislation would put unprecedented new limits on the powers of bank examiners. The impact of this legislation in weakening bank supervision would be especially great at the nation’s largest banks. Its effect would be to substantially increase the risk of systemic problems, and of unfair and predatory treatment of consumers.

H.R. 4545 would grant banks the right to appeal any supervisory determination made by any bank regulatory agency, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), to a new “Office of Independent Examination Review” that is outside of any regulatory agency. Upon appeal by a supervised bank, this new office would be required to undertake a de novo review of the agency’s supervisory decision. No deference to the initial examination findings or the supervisory agency’s judgment would be required in this review.” (Source: Statement from Americans for Financial Reform)

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H. R. 4545, Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act. 2018-03-17T16:35:35+00:00

H. R. 1119, Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act (SENSE Act).

This bill eases emission limits for hazardous air pollutants from electric utility steam generating units (electric power plants) that convert coal refuse into energy. The Environmental Protection Agency must allow utilities to select a standard for either hydrogen chloride or sulfur dioxide with which to comply from a list of specified standards.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote is against our values

We oppose H.R. 1119 and the legislative remedy offered by this bill. It comes as no surprise that the majority is once again offering legislation to undermine CAA regulations to benefit coal-fired power plants at the expense of public health. What is surprising is that the SENSE Act puts major coal-fired plants at a disadvantage relative to waste coal plants by granting them unnecessary and unwarranted regulatory relief. All of this is being done for no other reason than to benefit approximately 20 waste coal plants that exist in a handful of states. While these plants address one of coal’s major legacy problems–dangerous, polluting piles of coal mine tailings from abandoned coal mining operations–cleanup of these piles can and should be done without undue transfer of mercury, SO2 and other pollutants from the land to the air. None of this is necessary. There are waste coal plants that meet the MATS requirements today, and there is technology available to enable waste coal plants to comply with the requirements of this rule. There is no justification for treating them differently from other coal-fired generation facilities. For the reasons stated above, we dissent from the views contained in the Committee’s report.” (Source: Dissenting Views, House Report 115-514, Committee on Energy and Commerce

“On behalf of our millions of members, the undersigned organizations urge you to oppose the amended Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act, or SENSE Act (H.R. 1119). This bill would weaken health safeguards for Americans on behalf of special interest groups and result in more toxic air pollution and health hazards. The SENSE Act would provide a giveaway to power plants that burn waste coal under EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). The bill favors waste coal-burning power plants at the expense of other in-state coal power plants and the public through blunt political favoritism. Specifically, the SENSE Act would permanently exempt power plants that burn waste coal from having to meet certain pollution limits. Power plants, including waste coal plants, are already meeting these standards – passing this bill would be a free giveaway to polluters, and nothing more.” (Source: Letter from the Natural Resources Defense Council)


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H. R. 1119, Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act (SENSE Act). 2018-03-10T18:08:29+00:00

H. R. 3299, Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.

This bill amends the Revised Statutes, the Home Owners’ Loan Act, the Federal Credit Union Act, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to state that bank loans that are valid when made as to their maximum rate of interest in accordance with federal law shall remain valid with respect to that rate regardless of whether a bank has subsequently sold or assigned the loan to a third party.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote is against our values

H.R. 3299 attempts to codify the “valid when made” doctrine, which provides that if a loan is valid at its inception, it cannot subsequently become usurious if it is sold or transferred to another person. H.R. 3299 would overturn the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Madden v. Midland Funding, LLC, which declined to uphold the “valid when made” doctrine in the case. However, as drafted, the bill goes further than simply reverting back to the pre-Madden landscape and broadly expands the ability of non-banks to preempt state- level usury and consumer protection laws. In other words, the bill makes it easier for nonbanks, such as payday lenders, to use rent-a-bank arrangements to ignore state interest rate caps and make high-rate loans. Additionally, the bill includes no federal usury cap to limit the sweeping preemption of all state interest rate caps. Although “valid when made” is a longstanding principle, it is a contrived modern doctrine that does not exist universally in state or federal statute or case law. As a consequence, instead of simply overturning the Madden decision, H.R. 3299 would codify an expanded preemption power. This is especially disconcerting when non-bank third parties would be able, under the bill, to avail themselves of the privilege to preempt state interest rate laws.” (Source: Minority Views, House Report 115-538, Committee on Financial Services

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, I urge you to oppose H.R. 3299, the “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017.” H.R. 3299 would allow payday lenders and other non-bank institutions to use “rent-a-bank” arrangements to evade state usury laws and make loans with interest rates in the triple digits, enabling the kind of “access to credit” that will drive low-income consumers into even deeper debt and do them more harm than good. Non-bank lenders have attempted “rent-a-bank” arrangements to take advantage of the federal charters of banks, which allow federal preemption of state interest rate caps and other state consumer protection laws to charge interest rates that are far higher than legally permissible for nonbanks in some states. Under these arrangements, banks effectively “rent” their federal charter powers to non-bank lenders, in exchange for a fee associated with each loan.” (Source: Vanita Gupta, President & CEO of The Leadership Center)

The undersigned 202 national and state organizations write in strong opposition to H.R. 3299 (McHenry) and S. 1642 (Warner), the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017. The primary impact of this bill will be enabling nonbank lenders to make high-cost loans that exceed state interest rate limits by using a bank to originate the loan. The bill poses a serious risk of enabling predatory lending and unsafe lending practices. Unaffordable loans have devastating consequences for borrowers—trapping them in a cycle of unaffordable payments and leading to harms such as greater delinquency on other bills.” (Source: National Consumer Law Center, coalition of 202 national and state organizations)

“Critics say this arrangement has all the hallmarks of a rent-a-bank relationship that effectively evades state laws limiting payday loans, but the existing rules regarding such rent-a-bank partnerships are murky at best and only intermittently enforced. Now Congress, in trying to help expand credit for poor people, may be inadvertently codifying the rent-a-bank partnerships that allow payday and high-interest lenders legally avoid state usury laws, according to those critics.” (Source: The Center for Public Integrity)

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H. R. 3299, Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017. 2018-02-19T08:43:13+00:00

H. R.4771, Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act of 2018.

This bill will raise the consolidated assets threshold under the small bank holding company policy statement, and for other purposes. Before the end of the 6-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall revise the Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement on Assessment of Financial and Managerial Factors (12 C.F.R. part 225—appendix C) to raise the consolidated asset threshold under such policy statement from $1,000,000,000 (as adjusted by Public Law 113–250) to $3,000,000,000.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote is against our values

“In 2014, Democrats worked with Republicans to reach a reasonable compromise to increase the threshold for the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement (Policy Statement) for bank holding companies (BHCs’) and savings and loan holding companies (SLHCs’), from $500 million to $1 billion in total assets. In general, the Federal Reserve limits the debt levels of BHCs and SLHCs to ensure that they are able to serve as a source of strength for their depository subsidiary. The Policy Statement allows certain small BHCs and SLHCs to hold more debt at the holding company level than would otherwise be permitted by capital requirements if the debt is used to finance up to 75% of an acquisition of another bank. The 2014 law included some conditions, such as excluding any BHC or SLHC with less than $1 billion that was engaged in significant nonbanking activities, and it gave the Federal Reserve the ability to exclude any BHC or SLHC from the Policy Statement, regardless of size, if exclusion is determined warranted for supervisory purposes. H.R. 4771 would dramatically raise the Policy Statement threshold without giving policymakers sufficient time to evaluate the benefits and costs of the 2014 adjustment. One such potential downside could be the acceleration of industry consolidation through more mergers and acquisitions that leads to fewer, not more, community banks and encouraging BHCs and SLHCs to increase debt, which could pose safety and soundness risks.” (Source: Minority View, Committee on Financial Services Committee Report. 115-543).

“Raising the limit to $3 billion is a policy well calculated to significantly reduce the number of community banks in the U.S. First, raising the limit will allow medium sized community banks of $2 to 3 billion in size to more easily acquire smaller community banks, reducing the number of independent community banks. Second, allowing holding companies to borrow excessively will raise the risk of bank failure the next time the financial system is under stress.” (Source: Americans for Financial Reform)

H. R.4771, Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act of 2018. 2018-02-11T16:37:49+00:00

H. R. 3326, World Bank Accountability Act of 2017.

“This bill — known as the World Bank Accountability Act — would authorize the appropriation of about $3.3 billion over the 2018-2020 period for the United States’ share of the 18th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), which is part of the World Bank. The Secretary of the Treasury would be required to withhold up to 30 percent of that contribution unless they certify to Congress that the World Bank and IDA are adopting institutional reforms aimed at promoting accountability in its poverty reduction initiatives and fighting corruption in each of the three preceding fiscal years. The bill would require the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the U.S. Executive Director at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to use the voice and vote of the U.S. to oppose assistance to governments that have failed to implement sanctions required by U.N. Security Council resolution that’s in effect (such as the one targeting North Korea)”(Source: Countable)

Why Jason Lewis’ vote conflicts with our values.

“We support this legislation because we support the authorization for the United States to participate in the IDA- 18 replenishment. We also believe that international cooperation through U.S. leadership at the international financial institutions helps advance U.S. national security, economic interests and values. But we strongly oppose the provisions in the bill that place conditions on U.S. contributions to IDA because we do not believe this is an effective approach to reform, and, more importantly, because it could lead to a situation in which the United States would undermine IDA’s critical efforts to promote growth and reduce extreme poverty in the world.” (Source: Minority View, Committee on Financial Services, Report 115-298)

“While this bill authorizes $3.29 billion for the U.S. contribution to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) for FY 2018 – FY 2020, it withholds up to 30% of the funding unless certain requirements are met.  While most of the requirements are reasonable, withholding funds that benefit the poorest countries in the world is not the appropriate way of pushing the Bank to reform its operations.  When H.R. 3326 was being considered in Committee, Ranking Member Waters urged support for the bill with the understanding that Chairman Hensarling and his staff would continue to work on components that Democrats opposed.  Despite that agreement, House Republicans decided to move the bill to the Floor without changes.  In another attempt to improve the bill, Rep. Moore (WI) offered an amendment that would have allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to voice U.S. concerns at the bank, instead of enforcing overreaching and vague policy reforms through cuts to funding that will hurt some of the poorest people in the world, but her amendment was not made in order. On several occasions Democrats attempted to work with Republicans to improve this legislation that impacts the most vulnerable in the world, but Republicans decided to move forward on their own.  ”  (Source:  National Write Your Congressman)

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H. R. 3326, World Bank Accountability Act of 2017. 2018-01-22T17:29:09+00:00

H. R. 4324, Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act.

To require the Secretary of the Treasury to make certifications with respect to United States and foreign financial institutions’ aircraft-related transactions involving Iran, and for other purposes.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote conflicts with our values.

“These reports are intended to prevent the U.S. from allowing Iran to purchase commercial airliners which is allowed under the nuclear deal, putting the U.S. at risk of violating the agreement.” (Source: Countable)

“By seeking to render impermissible that which is expressly permitted pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the legislation would place in peril the U.S. commitment to permit the sale of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran, thereby placing the U.S. in non- compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal. We strongly oppose this legislation. (Source: Minority View, Committee on Financial Services, Report 115-452).

“It would lead to the noncompliance of the JCPOA,” warned Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) of a new bill (H.R. 4324) targeting the sale of aircraft to Iran under the nuclear deal. “The U.S. has committed to allow commercial passenger aircraft sales to Iran. This particular bill imposes additional requirements that could lead us to failing to meet that obligation.”

Rep. Ellison’s remarks were during a Congressional markup of two Iran bills in the House Financial Services Committee, both of which appear intended to undercut the Iran nuclear deal. Supporters of the accord raised strong objections during the markup, but the “Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act” (H.R. 4342) passed 38-21 and the “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act” (H.R. 1638) passed 43-16. The bills next move to the House floor, where they are likely to pass. However, similar legislation has not previously been passed by the Senate, so it is possible that the bills will not become law. (Source: National Iranian American Council)

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H. R. 4324, Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act. 2017-12-16T21:15:23+00:00

H. R. 462, REG Act of 2017.

Bill Summary:

This bill requires guidance documents of federal agencies to be considered rules that are subject to the congressional review process. A “guidance document” is a statement of general applicability and future effect, other than a regulatory action, issued by a federal agency that sets forth: (1) a policy on a statutory, regulatory, or technical issue; or (2) an interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue.

Bill Sponsor: Jason Lewis (R-MN)

H. R. 462, REG Act of 2017. 2017-12-06T17:53:32+00:00

H. R. 433, Sensible Nuclear Waste Disposition Act.

Bill Summary:

This bill prohibits the Department of Energy (DOE) from planning, developing, or constructing a defense waste repository until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves or disapproves the license to construct the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada. (A defense waste repository is a site used for storing high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel derived from the atomic energy defense activities of DOE.)

Bill Sponsor: Joe Wilson (R-SC)

H. R. 433, Sensible Nuclear Waste Disposition Act. 2017-12-06T23:04:51+00:00

H. R. 246, Repeal the annual fee on health insurance providers.

Bill Summary:

This bill repeals a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that imposes an annual fee on a health insurance provider based on its net premium income.

Bill Sponsor: Kristi L. Noem (R-SD At Large)

H. R. 246, Repeal the annual fee on health insurance providers. 2017-12-07T18:33:12+00:00

H. R. 184, Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017.

Bill Summary:

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the excise tax on the sale of a medical device by the manufacturer, producer, or importer.

Bill Sponsor: Erik Paulsen (R-MN)

H. R. 184, Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017. 2017-12-07T18:32:04+00:00