Blog

Posted by on September 24, 2021

By Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Rep. Bill Huizenga

This summer, regulators in China blocked Didi Chuxing, the country’s largest ride-hailing service, from signing up new customers through its app after Chinese regulators claimed the company was lax in protecting users’ personal data. This move followed Beijing’s eleventh-hour intervention last November to prevent Ant Group’s $35 billion IPO after Ant founder Jack Ma’s speech criticizing Chinese banks. More recently, the potential default of one of China’s leading real estate developers, Evergrande Group, due to reckless actions and overexpansion has led to speculation of whether China will bail out the company to avoid widespread losses in Chinese markets.

Some may think Beijing’s targeting of large tech companies such as Didi and Ant, and the potential actions toward Evergrande is a relief. A sign the Chinese are not quite ready to directly compete with the U.S. as the premier global economy.

But in reality, these are all aimed at one goal: ensuring the Chinese Communist Party’s control is absolute. The more extreme the action, the clearer the message that entrepreneurs and investors can’t seek refuge in China. Washington must acknowledge this reality and cannot become complacent in defending U.S. interests.

Unfortunately, calls to confront China can lead American policymakers to be short-sighted, steering our agenda toward short-term headlines rather than long-term policies aimed at outrunning them with free people and free markets.

While China is busy making foreign investors question its ability to govern responsibly, the U.S. should be reaffirming our commitment to a financial system that is open and thoughtful. A smart, responsible regulatory regime that encourages economic growth through innovation and promotes economic freedom is an incredibly potent weapon to us against the top-down control that China exerts. Even in cases where Washington must use its financial might to counter Beijing, our approach should consider the long-term impacts and effects of U.S. policies, specifically how they combat the long-term aspirations of the CCP.

For instance, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has warned that Chinese companies have increasingly raised capital from American investors. This could support firms that help Beijing in its rivalry with the U.S. But does this mean capital controls and delistings from U.S. exchanges alone will change China’s behavior? Probably not.

Thankfully, the U.S. already has alternative, effective, and powerful tools in its toolbelt. We can sanction Chinese firms that pose a threat to national security, which often compels third-country financial institutions to sever their ties as well. We can also use export controls to deprive the Chinese of advanced technologies that they need, then rally allies to impose those controls as well. This may help avoid the disruption that can accompany sanctions, which carries longer-term risks if it pushes countries to seek out alternatives to the dollar.

Rather than force U.S. securities regulators to chase foreign policy objectives, an idea that has backfired in the past, Washington should leave national security to the specialists. What regulators can do to widen America’s lead over China is redouble efforts to find risks in China’s financial institutions--a task complicated by Beijing’s opaque governance and non-adherence to international credit norms.

This approach, as proposed in bipartisan legislation, would better inform American firms and investors of actual risk in China’s financial sector. This would strengthen the U.S. by making our economy more resilient, not by picking and choosing where Americans can invest their money.

Under the previous administration, the U.S. became increasingly concerned by Chinese investors’ influence in cutting-edge U.S. firms. As a result, Republicans and Democrats joined in 2018 to enact the most important overhaul of foreign investment screening and export controls in a generation.  These reforms recognized competing against China involves varied approaches on multiple fronts. The U.S. should continue to use a bipartisan approach that pinpoints the cornerstones of Beijing’s aggression toward the United States.

To be clear, there will be times when the U.S. will have to go after China. American sanctions targeting the Chinese government have risen sharply, and there’s bipartisan agreement that Beijing’s ambitions pose national security risks.

As we protect the health of our financial system, we must ensure our actions are measured, appropriate, and well-defined. Failure to push back against China on numerous fronts is not only ineffective, but weakness or poorly targeted measures in these areas will only embolden China to push the boundaries of international law to accomplish their goal on unseating the U.S. as the world’s premier economy.

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Posted by on September 24, 2021

By Rep. French Hill and Rep. Tom Emmer

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) ineptitude in the early days of COVID-19 shed light on China’s growing influence over international institutions. The decline of the WHO should serve as a warning as China seeks to expand its malign reach, particularly in economic governance at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the G20.

These are the organizations that shape the world’s financial architecture, providing countries with lifelines during crises, setting conditions when they borrow, and monitoring the overall health of the global economy. China feels entitled to a greater say in how these organizations work. The U.S. must make it clear that they haven’t earned it.

China is now the largest official creditor in the world, with its lending having increased from almost nothing in 1998 to an estimated $1.6 trillion in 2018. Chinese leaders have placed particular emphasis on financing infrastructure across the globe under their Belt and Road Initiative, which now encompasses around 3,000 projects with a value of nearly $4 trillion.

Because Beijing doesn’t comply with international standards for lending terms that the U.S. and other major creditors have agreed to, the details of much of this financing remain murky. This intentional deception poses massive challenges to the work of the IMF and multilateral development banks, where America and its allies have traditionally been the top shareholders.

Without an understanding of countries’ obligations to China, public and private creditors can’t structure their loans effectively, allowing risk to form and metastasize unseen. At the same time, if creditors aren’t aware of Beijing’s own potential liabilities when China’s borrowers’ default, they may be blind to weaknesses in the world’s second largest economy.

The U.S. once believed that encouragement by the U.S. and her allies of the Chinese government would convince it to see the error of its ways. Officials thought if China had arrived as an economic power, then boosting its weight in international bodies must follow, and it just might convince Beijing to behave more responsibly. In 2010, the Obama Administration signed off on a more than 50 percent increase to China’s shareholding at the IMF, a move that the Fund hailed as better reflecting “global realities.” Five years later, the U.S. also allowed China’s renminbi (RMB) to be added to the IMF’s basket of elite currencies. This action handed Beijing a propaganda win even though the RMB still lagged the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar as an international reserve currency.

Whatever good intentions may have led to this three-decades-long strategy, the following years have been one long reality check. In addition to the expansion of Belt and Road, China reapplied capital controls and dismissed the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) trade finance standards to subsidize its exporters.

Most egregiously, the Chinese Communist Party defied international norms of behavior by assaulting Hong Kong’s democracy, stonewalling inquiries into the origins of COVID-19, and carrying out genocide in Xinjiang.

It’s masochistic to believe that a genocidal and expansionary Chinese Communist Party that rejects global rules is qualified to hold greater sway over international financial institutions. Having a voice in these institutions isn’t about the size of a country’s economy, it’s about commitment to the values that serve as the foundation of multilateral cooperation.

For its part, the IMF is now considering additional changes to its shareholding, with a decision expected in 2023. China will argue that its voting weight should rise again, this time leapfrogging Japan to take second place behind the U.S. Not only should the U.S. veto this move, but it should also make any future increase for China at the IMF, the World Bank, and other lenders contingent on Beijing first adhering to multilateral credit standards.

There are reasons to be hopeful that the world may have had enough of China’s behavior. In 2018, the U.S. led reforms at the World Bank that would reduce its assistance to China, an economy that now far exceeds the Bank’s eligibility threshold. Last November, the Treasury Department and like-minded members of an international working group suspended negotiations on export credits, fed up after eight years of Beijing dragging its feet on issues like debt transparency. And despite China’s creation of rivals to the IMF and World Bank, they haven’t come close to displacing these U.S.-led institutions. A Chinese-led order will face hurdles as long as global public opinion of Beijing stays at or near historic lows.

Keeping the pressure on China will be vital until it starts playing by the rules. The tarnished reputation of the WHO serves as a warning to guard against China’s reverse Midas touch wherever possible. There will be times when cooperation with China is necessary, but that cooperation is only sustainable if it’s based on shared values. It is up to China to prove it takes them seriously.

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Posted by on September 24, 2021

By Rep. Andy Barr and Rep. Ann Wagner

Leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are engaged in an organized, coordinated effort to usurp the United States as the world’s preeminent economic, military and technological power.  Defending against these advances is one of the most significant geopolitical challenges in a generation.  However, we cannot beat China by becoming like China. 

Strategies to counter China’s global dominance are only effective if they focus on America’s strengths and leverage America’s economic might to counter malign Chinese activities. A case in point is U.S. leadership of the global financial system, which the Chinese have long envied but failed to dislodge. For this leadership to continue, Washington cannot force institutions of government to take on problems they weren’t designed to solve. We should focus on our strengths and the frameworks that do work.

For example, just take the Federal Reserve as a cautionary tale. For the Fed to remain preeminent in the global financial system, it can’t be all things to all people. A credible Fed is an accountable Fed that gets the basics right, from meeting its legal mandate on inflation and employment, to continually improving the payments system and supervising banks. The Fed had its hands full with these obligations even before it was enlisted for COVID-19 relief, but some Democrats now want to drag it into additional pursuits, from assessing climate risk on banks’ balance sheets to solving inequality and bailing out local governments. Though the Fed enjoys capable leadership under Chairman Jay Powell, conjuring new dragons for it to slay will set the Fed up for failure, politicize it endlessly, and signal to the world that it’s unserious about its core mission. China will sit back and cheer.

Nor is the Fed the only institution that risks being pulled apart in all directions. America’s capital markets, the envy of the world, are also being eyed as a cudgel to be wielded in the name of every conceivable social agenda. This includes using securities disclosures to advance foreign policy goals, which can be counterproductive.  Adding excessive reporting and compliance burdens not based on information that is material to investors’ investment risk calculus typically undercuts companies’ ability to expand, innovate, and generate jobs. In some cases, it may even backfire with tragic results for the most vulnerable that the crafters of disclosures intend to protect. Firms and investors flock to U.S. exchanges not just because they’re protected by American laws, but because the design and application of those laws is purposeful, coherent, and careful.  Ill-considered use of U.S. investment disclosure rules to accomplish an overbroad range of policy goals compromises the strength and credibility of American capital markets, disincentivizes companies from going or remaining public, and limits access to investment opportunities for retail investors and retirement savers.

The strength of the U.S. economy and our capital markets is key to our effectiveness abroad, because if push does come to shove with China, the U.S. can wield its leverage to get results. That is why our sanctions regime is so powerful. Sanctions are an important aspect of our foreign policy and provide the U.S. with a key tool to deny adversaries the resources to continue their illicit behavior and to compel them to change undesirable behavior. Administered through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the U.S. Department of Treasury, financial sanctions provide targeted means to deprive bad actors of their funding mechanisms. OFAC has a decades-long track record of identifying and addressing national security risks.  Policy solutions to limit the economic viability of malign Chinese actors should leverage OFAC.  Our allies respect the judgment of OFAC, creating a force-multiplying effect as they follow our lead.  

The world’s trust in our financial system helps make American sanctions so forceful, and it means that U.S. growth and stability is essential to others’ success. As the U.S. seeks out international coalitions to confront Chinese policies, those coalitions will form more easily if the U.S. remains indispensable for the global economy to function. That requires Washington to focus on advancing our strengths.

The U.S. must ensure its position on top of the global financial system. It should continue to facilitate capital flows that spur rising living standards, set international rules of the road to maintain financial stability, and shore up confidence in the dollar so that America’s sanctions retain their bite. But all of this relies on a single-minded commitment to governing from the top of that order responsibly. It’s not enough to hope that China will stumble on its way up.

And China does hope to ascend. From internationalizing the renminbi, to providing more investors access to Chinese assets, to its forays into a digital yuan and new payment system, Beijing isn’t standing still. Some of these efforts may fall short, some may be abandoned, and others may be derailed by China’s ham-handed diplomacy. But a self-confident U.S. won’t stake its future on Chinese leaders somehow tripping over themselves; it will instead redouble government’s focus on sober economic leadership.

Sun Tzu in the Art of War mused that it’s best to achieve victory in battle without fighting. While we must not back down from China as it seeks to challenge the U.S.-led order, thoughtful governance of the financial system can allow the United States to extend the dominance of its markets and the dollar. China knows this. However, policymakers must employ these tools how they should, not necessarily how they could. The United States should look beyond fighting and set its sights on winning.

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Posted by on September 24, 2021

By Rep. Patrick McHenry

As the Biden administration’s inept evacuation from Afghanistan unfolded in August, the president sought to change the subject by saying that an exit would help Americans focus on a more serious threat: China. But with its Afghan policy so disastrously executed, the administration’s message sounded as if someone struggling to master checkers had announced he’d be entering the World Chess Championship.

Heart-wrenching scenes from Kabul have shown how Washington must get its act together if it wants to outcompete China, and that means restoring the world’s trust through a recommitment to competence.

Nowhere is competence more vital than in America’s command of the global financial system: China’s leaders must have noticed how even in the midst of a botched exit from Afghanistan, the United States was still able to cut off the Taliban’s access to billions of dollars at the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund, with American sanctions primed to counter future Taliban plans for hard currency. This power rests on the dollar’s central position in the world economy, which gives the United States an ace in the hole if tensions with China intensify.

The dollar has reigned supreme because Americans have maximized its usefulness — whether by producing first-rate technologies and consumer goods for purchase, or by developing the world’s premier capital markets. Unlike the Chinese, Americans have reaped these advantages through careful governance and support for free exchange, not central planning which stymies innovation and sabotages investors through regulatory ambush. Even when the United States punishes bad actors by restricting their use of the dollar, it has sought to minimize collateral damage by adopting a measured approach.

But Washington must not squander this leverage. For America to retain its financial edge over China, policymakers should be guided by a few basic principles.

First, the United States must continue to innovate and grow more productive so that the world prefers to do business on its shores, buying its goods and services as well as investing in its companies. As Chinese regulators go about kneecapping their country’s entrepreneurs, closing off their companies to foreign capital and even cracking down on video games and online celebrities, America should double down on the power of free exchange and free thinking.

Again, a renewed interest in competence will be key. An America that once encouraged businesses to conquer the world now risks losing the plot by viewing the private sector as a mere tool to advance political agendas.

To take just one example, the Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency created to protect investors and foster capital formation, wants to mandate company disclosures on climate risk that may have nothing to do with a given business’s financial health. A similar effort to use the SEC’s disclosure regime to effect social change a decade ago actually ended up harming the people it was designed to protect.

Climate change and human rights are important, but using securities regulations to foist social agendas on the public is the epitome of using the wrong tool for the job. This will only undermine confidence in the United States as a serious place to do business, making its attempts to solve global problems less credible, not more.

The same course correction is essential in America’s steering of international bodies. Institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, led by the United States since the end of World War II, have historically lent dollars to spur global growth, helping the developing world escape poverty and reform their economies under the rule of law. But the Biden administration is now so intent on using these organizations for virtue signaling that it’s endangering U.S. leadership, pushing would-be borrowers into the arms of Chinese banks.

In August, the Treasury Department announced that it would oppose most new fossil fuel loans from the World Bank and similar lenders to poorer countries, despite the fact that the entire African continent, for example, accounts for less than 4 percent of global greenhouse emissions, compared to 27 percent from the worst polluter of all, China. Instead of taking Beijing to task for driving climate change, President Joe Biden has instead incentivized governments around the world to seek their energy financing from the Chinese.

The incoherence doesn’t stop there. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has pushed the IMF to disburse $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights so that low-income countries can fund the battle against COVID-19, though this money – which has no conditions attached – will most likely go to rich economies or bolster U.S. adversaries like Russia and China. Mexico even wants to use its SDRs to bail out its state-owned oil behemoth, Pemex, an embarrassing outcome when Yellen is labeling climate change “an existential threat.”

As this madness plays out, China hopes to increase its sway in the IMF and World Bank at a time when its predatory lending through the Belt and Road Initiative jeopardizes these creditors’ ability to assess financial risk. The United States can’t afford to let this happen. These important multilateral organizations instead require a back-to-basics approach under more sober leadership from America and like-minded allies. That means reviving their focus on helping countries grow and reform, not ceding the stage to a Chinese model of international finance.

This summer’s fiasco in Afghanistan showed that U.S. policymakers have grown complacent with overpromising and underdelivering. The blocking and tackling of governing has been neglected, and as tragic as this proved at the Kabul airport, it will be far more dangerous if China is approached as carelessly. Continued financial supremacy calls for allowing American companies to be more inventive and productive than China’s, demanding that Beijing play by the rules in international institutions and leading by example through responsible governance of U.S. markets. Washington should take heed before it’s engulfed in more foreign policy surprises of its own making.

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Posted by on July 15, 2021
By Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. | July 15, 2021
 
This year began with a question about whether we had done enough to secure a full economic recovery. Now the question is: can our economy handle this recovery?
 
Prices are rising and they are rising fast — unsound fiscal policy and government spending are contributing to these higher costs. Families are feeling it when they buy groceries, fill up their tank, or book a plane ticket to finally reunite with relatives after a year and a half in lockdown.
 
Democrats say it’s transitory and prices will come down. Republicans say inflation is about to take root.
 
I’d say this debate misses the forest for the trees. Increasing prices are a side effect, not the diagnosis.
 
With more than 9 million job openings we should be seeing a return to work boom—but that’s just not happening.
 
Throughout the spring, jobs numbers fell short of predictions, setting off alarm bells that the recovery was lagging. The Biden administration seized on a better-than-expected June jobs report that showed 850,00 jobs had been added. But this statistic misses the larger picture. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 61.6%, the number of long-term unemployed increased by 233,000, and companies continued to struggle to hire enough workers to meet their business demands.
 
We can’t ignore the fact that in one year we’ve experienced a shift in our labor force that would have taken a generation without the pandemic. Simply put, Americans want a new way to work.
 
Millions of traditional jobs have been displaced, many Americans want more flexibility to spend time with their families, and some want a less traditional employer-employee relationship. Other Americans may need new skills to adapt to the technological changes that the pandemic expedited in the way we work and do business. We’ll need thoughtful legislating to connect workers with these new jobs.
 
We don’t need a plan to return to business as usual, we need a return to work plan.
 
To be clear, this can’t be accomplished through government spending, raising taxes, or imposing new regulations — this has been tried before by Democrats in Washington and failed. We’ve seen the inadvertent negative impact of $2 trillion pumped into a struggling economy: higher prices, a delayed return to work, and a politicized reopening. An additional $3.5 trillion dollars in spending, “paid” for by raising taxes on businesses and the middle class, only digs us further into the hole.
 
We should instead focus on creating the kind of real economic growth that has proven to be enduring and stable. This requires a focus on regulatory relief, sound money, and a competitive tax system. It will also require lawmakers to join the 21st century and embrace innovation as a solution, rather than a hindrance, to job creation.
 
This will be the central focus of the House Republicans’ Jobs and Economy Taskforce. We will not be distracted by chasing growth based on election cycles. Our goal is to build towards a system that values economic freedom, innovation, and upward mobility. This will deliver the kind of broad prosperity that defines our uniquely American system of free enterprise.
 
To have a recovery that works for all Americans, we need to get Americans back to work. The Jobs and Economy Taskforce will lead the way to find the solutions that accomplish this goal.
 
Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican, represents North Carolina’s 10th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
Read the full piece online here.
Posted by on April 20, 2020

Just two weeks after being stood up, funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—a popular and necessary program for America’s struggling small businesses—ran out. While Republican efforts to replenish this fund have been stalled, financial institutions of all sizes are stepping up to ensure that as soon as Democrats stop playing political games, they are ready to rush critical support to small businesses and their workers.

Below are just a few examples of financial institutions taking steps to provide relief to small businesses around the country:

Michigan First Credit Union

  • “The Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) based on available appropriations funding. At this time, we will continue to accept applications and prepare them for processing should additional funding become available for this program."

Bank of America

  • “You may be seeing reports that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has said the initial $349 billion in the Paycheck Protection Program has been committed. In hopeful anticipation that additional funds are provided by Congress, we will continue to process applications.”

Red River Credit Union

  • “As of Thursday, April 16, the SBA has announced there are no longer funds available for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). When Congress reconvenes on May 4, 2020, if additional funds are made available at that time, we will begin processing applications again. If you would like to submit your PPP loan application now, RRCU will hold it for you in the event more funds are made available. If we can assist you in any other way, please do not hesitate to let us know.”

Capital One

  • “On Thursday, April 16, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that funds for the Paycheck Protection Program loans had run out. We have urged Congress to act quickly to authorize additional funding to meet the needs of small businesses across the country. We are hopeful they will do so soon, so we continue to accept and prepare applications for submission to the SBA.”

Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union

  • “The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection program based on available appropriations funding. At this time, we will continue to accept applications and prepare them for processing should additional funding become available for this program.”

Chase

  • “Even though the SBA is not accepting applications at this time, we are continuing to process all previously submitted applications, given that Congress is considering a new round of funding for this critical program.”

Credit Human

  • “The SBA has announced the initial $349 Billion funding for this program has run out and that they are no longer accepting applications at this time. However, since we anticipate Congress will authorize additional funds, we encourage you to complete an application that we can submit to the SBA when new funding is authorized.”

Citibank

  • “We know the news that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has already committed the full $349 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is hard for many to hear. However, we are hopeful that additional funding will be approved by Congress, so we are diligently processing the applications that have already been submitted and accepting applications from our Small Business Banking clients.”

US Bank

  • “Today, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the initial $349 billion in funds allotted to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the CARES Act has been exhausted. … As Congress works on the possibility of additional funding, we will continue to aggressively move customers through the process to have them ready for the final SBA steps as soon as, we hope, program continues.”

Visit Financial Services Committee Republicans’ website for additional resources and updates on efforts to mitigate the economic impact of coronavirus on consumers.

Posted by on November 14, 2018

Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today’s hearing with the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles:

This morning, we welcome back for his semi-annual testimony, The Honorable Randy Quarles, the Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman for Supervision.

As we know all too well, the Dodd-Frank Act dramatically increased the Fed’s powers way beyond its traditional monetary policy responsibilities. 

Through so-called “heightened prudential standards,” the Fed can functionally now control the largest financial institutions in our economy, which is most disconcerting. Increased capital and liquidity standards, as long as they are not counter-productive or duplicative, add to stability; regulatory complexity and micro-management do not. If not properly tailored and calibrated, both hinder economic growth.   

Two weeks ago, the Fed proposed changes to the supervisory requirements for some financial institutions. These proposals are the direct result of the House-led deregulatory and pro-growth provisions contained in the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.” These proposals are a most welcome sign of progress. But to be clear, they do not yet represent success. If they represent the Fed’s final offerings; it’s pretty thin gruel.

There is clearly a direct connection between sluggish economic growth and the regulatory tsunami we experienced for nearly two decades prior to President Trump taking office. Studies, including one by the Mercatus Center, found that regulatory drag on the economy can be attributed to a loss in real income of approximately $13,000 for every American – a staggering figure.

We should note that while total overall regulatory restrictions have increased by nearly 20 percent since 1997, regulatory restrictions on “finance and insurance” have increased by a whopping 72 percent.

That is why this Committee has devoted so much time and attention to legislation, much of it bipartisan, that properly tailors financial regulation.

Certainly we can never lose sight of systemic risk, but neither can we lose sight of economic growth which today has led to the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, the greatest wage increases in a decade, and a resurgence of optimism by both consumers and businesses.

The Vice Chairman previously has expressed his support for a comprehensive evaluation and improvement of the post-crisis regulatory regime, guided by the principles of efficiency, transparency, and simplicity of regulation. These are indeed laudable principles. I would suggest including one other, the principle that the rule of law not be supplanted by the arbitrary discretion of the regulators. That means keeping regulators out of the board room, both literally and figuratively, and kept out of management decisions. 

While I am pleased to see this Fed’s willingness to better tailor, perform cost-benefit analyses, implement prudential regulatory risk adjustments, and propose amendments to the Volcker Rule, each of these as they stand should again be viewed simply as first steps and insufficient to truly propel our economy to sustained 4 percent economic growth.

Vice Chairman Quarles, again, I look forward to your testimony today and exploring with you the importance of ensuring that each of the Federal Reserve’s proposals arrive at results that truly are “transparent, efficient, and simple.”

Posted by on May 21, 2018

In the years following the recent financial crisis, our community financial institutions have cited costly, burdensome, and one-size-fits-all Washington regulations as major roadblocks to their ability to grow  and serve their customers. Over the past several months, the House of Representatives has passed dozens of strongly bipartisan pro-growth bills to help not only our community financial institutions but small businesses and American consumers as well. These House-passed bills lift unnecessary regulations, provide relief to Main Street, and make it easier for folks to buy a car, achieve the dream of homeownership, grow their businesses and create jobs.

These efforts by the House – which make up approximately half of the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” – have been recognized and praised by a wide array of outside groups, including community and state bankers associations:

Independent Community Bankers of America & Credit Union National Association

“The bill that the Senate produced, frankly, would not have been possible without the earlier action on the part of the House, which passed H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling. Several provisions of H.R. 10 are included in S. 2155. To be sure, years of deliberation, hearings, markups, and floor votes in the House inspired and prompted the Senate to craft and consider S. 2155. This is effectively a bicameral bill; the House deserves as much credit for S. 2155 as the Senate.” -ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine and CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle

American Bankers Association

“The tireless work of the House Financial Services Committee over the last six years under the leadership of Chairman Jeb Hensarling cannot be understated nor can the influence the Committee had on this critically important bipartisan agreement.”

Michigan Credit Union League, Community Bankers of Michigan, Michigan Bankers Association               

“We thank you for your leadership in the House for all you have done to bring regulatory relief to the verge of enactment.”

BB&T Corporation, Capital One Financial Corporation, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., U.S. Bankcorp

“Under your leadership, the House has passed bipartisan legislation that considers a firm’s business model and risk profile, rather than an arbitrary asset threshold, in regulating our financial services sector.”

 National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

“The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is very appreciative of the work of Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Ranking Member Maxine Waters, and the House Financial Services Committee on reining-in our federal activity at international insurance regulatory standard-setting bodies such as the Financial Stability Board and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.”

Texas Bankers Association

“In addition to the Senate effort, the House has worked diligently to craft and pass legislation that provides additional meaningful reform in a bipartisan manner.”

Joint letter from state-based trades

“The undersigned organizations (51) commend the House of Representatives for its enormous contributions to the provisions that developed the final work product embodied in S. 2155. The bill reflects years of House Financial Services Committee hearings and legislative deliberations, and includes numerous bipartisan provisions originated in the House. Upon enactment of this important bill, our nation’s communities will be greatly indebted to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, his colleagues on the committee and members of the House who – along with the Senate – took action to reduce impediments to job creation and economic growth.”

Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

“The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) are very appreciative of your leadership of the House Financial Services Committee and your efforts through the years on reforming the way that financial services regulation is done in this country. We are particularly supportive of the committee’s work on refocusing our federal activity at international insurance regulatory standard-setting bodies such as the Financial Stability Board and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.”

Independent Community Bankers of America

“ICBA thanks the House for passing much-needed community bank regulatory relief, which will promote economic and job growth in local communities,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “These important bills will help ensure that community banks can continue supporting their local consumers and small businesses.”

National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions

“Both the House and Senate have passed NAFCU-backed comprehensive regulatory relief bills this Congress – H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act in the House and S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in the Senate.  NAFCU is pleased to see recent reports that the House may soon act on S. 2155 in order to ensure that regulatory relief can be enacted into law this year.  We urge both the House and Senate to continue their work to ensure that this bill is enacted into law.  As with most pieces of legislation, bi-partisan and bi-cameral agreement is not an easy undertaking.  To that end, there has been much debate in the public arena as to whether S. 2155 should be amended with further additions when it is considered by the House.  NAFCU is extremely supportive of S. 2155, but also has been supportive of bi-partisan measures passed by the House since the start of this Congress.  NAFCU supports a regulatory environment that allows credit unions to thrive."

Freedom Partners

“Chairman Hensarling deserves enormous credit for seeing the big picture on the importance of enacting relief from onerous financial regulations.” -Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento

Posted by on March 15, 2018

The Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade met today to evaluate the operations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the challenges it faces by a changing global economy.

“Today’s hearing is the third time this Congress that the Subcommittee has publicly examined the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS,” said Subcommittee Chairman Andy Barr (R-KY). “As the Subcommittee continues to review CFIUS and begins to consider potential reforms, it is clear that we must improve our security review process to ensure that bad actors do not get American technology or information that can be used against us. At the same time, we must make certain that the CFIUS process does not create disincentives for foreign direct investment in the United States killing jobs and the much needed capital source for national security advancements.”

Key Takeaways

  • Any changes to CFIUS should enhance its ability to protect national security, not contribute to mission creep or duplicative functions that undermine its effectiveness.
  • It is essential that U.S. firms continue to have access to foreign investment in order to increase productivity and create jobs.

Topline Quotes from Witnesses

“…CFIUS and export controls are both vital and robust authorities the United States relies upon to protect our national security. As we strengthen both to meet current challenges, it is important that they remain complementary and not overlap unnecessarily, as that has the potential to overburden the CFIUS process and partially duplicate the more comprehensive coverage of technology transfer under the export control system.” – The Honorable Richard E. Ashooh, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

“…CFIUS must be modernized. In doing so, we must preserve our longstanding open investment policy. At the same time, we must protect our national security from current, emerging, and future threats. The twin aims of maintaining an open investment climate and safeguarding national security are the exclusive concern of neither Republicans nor Democrats. Rather, they are truly American aims that transcend party lines and regional interests. But they demand urgent action if we are to achieve them.” – The Honorable Heath P. Tarbert, Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Investment Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury

“Simply put, the United States military fights and wins wars through the unmatched performance of our men and women in uniform and our superior military technology. Knowing this, our competitors are aggressively attempting to diminish our technological advantage through a multi-faceted strategy by targeting and acquiring the very technologies that are critical to our military success now and in the future. China, in particular, publicly articulates its policy of civil-military integration, which ties into its intentions to become the world leader in science and technology and to modernize its military in part by strengthening the industrial base that supports it.” – Eric D. Chewning, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

Posted by on December 12, 2017

The House passed bipartisan legislation on Tuesday that provides important regulatory relief for small banks and credit unions and protects consumer access to mortgage credit.

The CFPB’s expansion of escrow requirements and guidance on escrow and mortgage servicing requirements are prime examples of the regulatory burden placed on community financial institutions.

With the smaller staff and resources of community institutions, existing escrow rules are financially and technically prohibitive.  Many community banks and credit unions lack the resources to create and maintain escrow accounts in house, and outsourcing the work is, for the most part, cost prohibitive.  The burdensome and expensive escrow requirements force small lenders to increase costs for consumers or out of the mortgage market altogether.

The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act would relieve certain smaller banks and credit unions – those with consolidated assets of $10 billion or less and who hold the mortgage on their balance sheet for three years, and those that service 20,000 or fewer mortgage loans annually – from this onerous regulation and allow them to do what they do best: serve the financial needs of the local economy through relationship banking.

“H.R. 3971 is a narrowly focused, modest effort to resolve concerns related to the CFPB's rules implementing Dodd-Frank Act provisions on escrows and mortgage servicing. These important fixes will give smaller credit unions and community banks greater flexibility to ensure that more of their members and customers can get a loan to buy a home and stay in their homes,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). “I thank Representative Tenney, a member of the Financial Services Committee, for introducing this legislation and for leading Congressional efforts to help provide regulatory relief for small banks and credit unions from rules that are unfairly restricting consumers’ access to mortgage credit.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), said “This bipartisan bill is a step in the right direction to rollback harmful regulations that have crippled our community financial institutions. Mandating one-size-fits-all regulations places costly and unmanageable burdens on our small financial institutions. This shows just how out-of-touch Washington bureaucrats are with our local communities. The Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act works to reverse this problem by lowering the cost of credit for low-income borrowers and rolling back onerous escrow regulations that continue to drive community institutions out of the mortgage lending market. I’m grateful to Chairman Hensarling for his leadership in working to pass this important bill, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside the Financial Services Committee to roll back onerous regulations and get our economy moving again.”

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support 294-129.