A bill to modify and roll back some aspects of the 8-year-old Dodd-Frank financial act was co-sponsored this week by Republican Sen. Dean Heller. Although Senate Republicans voted along party lines for the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection act, Democrats were divided with 16 senators voting alongside Republicans. It passed the Senate 67-32.
All the no votes — including the one from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto — came from Democrats.
The Dodd-Frank Act was a key part of President Obama’s fix in response to the Great Recession. The measure was intended to decrease risks in the coMichelle Rindelsuntry’s financial system while establishing government oversight groups such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
In a statement, Cortez Masto said, “The signing of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 was pivotal in rewriting the rules to strengthen oversight and consumer protections against deceitful banks and prevent another housing crisis. But the bank lobbyists pushed back hard. The banking bill before the Senate, S. 2155, is chock-a-block full of favors to Big Banks that dumped millions of dollars into lobbying efforts and now seek to rig the rules in their favor again.”
The bill would make changes to consumer mortgage and credit-reporting regulations, including not requiring banks to report loan data used in evaluating possible housing discrimination.
It also would require credit reporting agencies to provide freeze alerts to consumers and includes consumer credit provisions related to senior citizens, minors and veterans. The bill amends the Truth in Lending Act to allow banks with less than $10 billion in assets to waive ability-to-repay requirements for some residential-mortgage loans.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the bill would change the asset threshold for community banks to any bank with assets under $10 billion. Presently, mid-size banks are regulated under Dodd-Frank the same as large banks including Citigroup. The CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $77 million over the next 20 years.
Heller praised the bill as a rollback of regulations that inhibit growth.
“For nearly a decade, burdensome financial regulations meant to protect Americans during the Financial Crisis hurt small community lenders in Nevada, which stifled economic growth and lending,” said Heller. “I’m pleased that the Senate advanced a bipartisan, regulatory relief package that includes my seven measures to help community lenders, protect consumers and veterans and increase oversight of the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.”
In the Senate, the march to fill judgeships continued at a steady pace. Both Cortez Masto and Heller voted to confirm three District Court judges.
One bill that passed both the House and Senate was S.188. The measure, co-sponsored by Heller, amended a 2014 federal law that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for official portraits of government employees, including the president and vice president. The amendment will now include a prohibition on federal funding for portraits of all federal government officers and employees, including the president’s cabinet members and members of Congress.
Air pollution was the subject of two bills in the House. Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring compliance to Clean Air standards for brick, clay and tile manufacturers until a judicial review of the emission rules are completed.
H.R. 762 will also require the EPA to permit power plants that generate electricity by burning coal refuse — a waste byproduct of coal — as their primary fuel source, to comply with an alternative emissions standard for controlling acid gases that is less stringent than current standards.
Republican Rep. Mark Amodei voted to approve the bill. Democratic Reps. Ruben Kihuen, Jacky Rosen and Dina Titus voted against it.
With the Winter Olympics done, representatives are setting their sights on hosting World Cup Soccer. Kihuen co-sponsored H.Con.Res. 111 to support the efforts to bring Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup to North America. In 2014, FIFA spent $2 billion when the games were hosted by Brazil. FIFA reports half of the money was pumped directly into the Brazilian economy.
“In Las Vegas, a new team, the Las Vegas Lights, has already generated tremendous excitement and expanded economic opportunity,” Kihuen said in a statement. “I look forward to doing all I can to support the united bid to host the 2026 World Cup.”
Kihuen also sponsored H.R. 5205 to name the only post office in Hawthorne after Sgt. Kenneth Eric Bostic. Amodei joined the Democratic delegates, Rosen and Titus in co-sponsoring the bill. Bostic, a military police officer from Hawthorne, was killed at a checkpoint in Baghdad.
He was 21 years old.
“I think it is a really big honor and a real tribute to my son,” said Patty Thyne, his mother. “Any kid that fights for our country is a hero, but this one is mine. He died back in 2006 and it doesn’t get any easier. Something like this is a huge tribute to him. There are so many tributes to him across the United States but this is in his hometown.”
For a full rundown of the measures the delegates supported or opposed this week, check out The Nevada Independent’s congressional vote tracker and other information below.
SEN. DEAN HELLER
SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
REP. MARK AMODEI
REP. JACKY ROSEN
REP. DINA TITUS
REP. RUBEN KIHUEN