Wednesday, March 20, 2019

CGR Summit: Everyone says it will happen, but ..

Earlier this week, more than 20 Oklahoma bankers joined nearly 1,300 bankers from across the country while attending the ABA’s GR Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Parts, but not all, of the meetings we had both with the group and our own delegation were encouraging,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “Virtually everyone tells us that the regulatory reform bill – S. 2155 – is going to pass; it’s just a question of how much time it will take to get it over the goal line.”

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) told the larger group of bankers and the media that “[w]e’ll get Dodd-Frank reform signed by the president” and it’s only a question of “one package or two packages and when.”

“What Rep. McHenry is talking about – I think – is that the House plans to develop another bill of some sort to include both the language of the Senate bill and the various additions that Chairman (Jeb) Hensarling (R-Texas) is trying to add,” Beverage said. “The key would be whether the Senate is willing to consider such an amended bill, and my guess is they are not, at least at this point. McHenry is chief deputy majority whip in the House and vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

“Another approach – and one that’s more likely in my view – is to amend a piece of ‘must-pass’ legislation, like (National Flood Insurance Program) reauthorization that is set to expire on July 31. This approach allows the chairman to ‘add’ the pieces he want to add and still preserve the language of S. 2155 as is. This plan will permit the House to pass the Senate bill without any changes and send it to President Trump for his signature.

“At a gathering Tuesday evening, Chairman Hensarling made a number of comments in general about how he plans to proceed, announcing that S. 2155 represents the ‘floor’ of what’s needed, not the ceiling for financial reform. The one comment I heard that I found very encouraging was that he said he ‘will be at the signing ceremony for S. 2155,’ and will get one of the pens the president uses to sign the bill. I’ve not heard that before.

“Time seems to move differently in Congress. Our delegation indicated that it will take some more time to let this play out, in spite of concerns I expressed that time is not on our side. We are one ‘tweet’ away from something bad happening to upset the apple cart, and the longer we wait, the less optimistic I get. I hope I’m overreacting.”