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11.07.2018
Democrats take House, Republicans Senate; What does this mean for CUs?
Based on election results as of press time, Democrats have won enough seats to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the upcoming 116th Congress; while the Senate will remain in Republican hands, ensuring a "split" Congress in 2019. What does this mean for credit unions?

"Credit unions will continue to have a strong seat at the table as we enjoy bipartisan support in Congress," said Dan Berger, NAFCU president and CEO. "Whether working with Republicans, Democrats or Independents, our goal is to achieve an appropriate regulatory environment that provides a tailored approach to regulation, a level playing field, and transparent and independent regulatory oversight for credit unions and the 114 million members they serve."

NAFCU lobbyists expect that a "split" Congress will likely limit legislative activity. "Any legislation, other than must-pass items, will need to be strongly bipartisan to have a chance at passage," said NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler. "For credit unions, this means Congress may act on items including fintech, data security and personal privacy, and housing finance reform if bipartisan solutions can be found. Targeted regulatory relief for financial institutions is also still possible in areas addressing the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering. We expect that there could be a number of hearings, as each side seeks to stake out its position on issues, but getting something moving will take building bipartisan support."

NAFCU lobbyists were out at Hill gatherings last night interacting with congressional staff and lawmakers. More from yesterday's election, as well as some of NAFCU's insights are detailed below.

House:

With a Democratic majority in the House, key committees with jurisdiction over the financial industry and tax issues will have new leaders. It is widely expected that:

• Current House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will chair the committee beginning in January;

• House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal, D-Mass., will assume the chairmanship; and

• House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., will head the committee.

NAFCU has established working relationships with all three of these leaders, who have each recognized the importance of the credit union industry.

As of 6:30 a.m. Eastern, Democrats had secured 222 seats to Republicans' 199, with some races yet to be called.

Senate:

Republicans managed to hold onto the Senate by a similar margin as they do now (as of 6:30 a.m. Eastern there were still three races yet to be called). Because of the close split between party lines, NAFCU expects much of the Senate agenda to remain the same.

Credit unions did lose some close allies in last night's election, including Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.

NAFCU-supported incumbents winning Senate bids last night were Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Results from Montana – including Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. – are still outstanding.

Newly elected senators include Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.

Both the House and Senate will confirm leadership and committee posts when they return next week and into the new year.

Congress returns next week to begin its lame-duck session. NAFCU expects Congress to address a government-spending package among other must-pass items. The association is urging both chambers to address data security and regulatory relief measures.

Copyright 2018. NAFCU. (link)
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