The September melodrama over a federal government shutdown may have overshadowed other important defense-related issues in the headlines, but DCUC has stayed focused on the essential matters at hand that are important to you, our members, as the calendar moves to October.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was on the hot seat in the Supreme Court October 3 as oral arguments in the case challenging its constitutionality and funding began.
In the case being heard, the Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) is seeking to block the enforcement of
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules designed to restrict payday lending products. The CFSA is arguing that Congress violated the Constitution’s appropriations clause when it granted the CFPB a portion of the Federal Reserve’s operating budget. The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the CFSA, using language suggesting that only funds appropriated through the annual Congressional process are legal.
If the Court sides with the Fifth Circuit, the implications for CFPB are significant, and could include a requirement that they come to Congress for annual approval of their budget. And that means Congressional oversight. In addition, Congressional Republicans are looking to restructure the Bureau by creating a five-member commission,
replacing the current sole director.
A Supreme Court decision in the case is not expected until Spring 2024.
Cannabis banking legislation took a step forward in late September…or did it?
By a bipartisan majority the Senate Banking Committee advanced the SAFER Banking Act, which would expand protections for credit unions and other financial institutions that want to offer deposit services to the cannabis industry. But additional amendments await when the bill gets to the Senate Floor regarding regulatory authority to monitor business accounts and criminal justice reform, amendments that will complicate its chances of becoming law.
Senate liberals, led by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are promising Floor amendments to expunge criminal convictions from the record of those convicted of drug crimes. Even though a Warnock amendment on this was rejected in the Senate Banking Committee by a 3-20 vote, he has vowed to resurrect it when the full Senate votes.
Republicans are also signaling opposition. Concerns about SAFER’s language that would give regulators the latitude to shut off access for certain businesses to the financial system are being voiced by both Senators and key House Republicans.
Most of the time a bill passing out of a congressional committee is a sign of momentum. Not in this case—immediately after the hearing Republican Senate Banking committee staff commented that “this bill is going to need to be re-negotiated before we get to the floor. Problems on the left and the right.”
The 2024 NDAA is entering the homestretch.
Leaders and staffers in both chambers are working to reconcile their versions of the NDAA, and SASC Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said he began face-to-face discussions with his Senate and House counterparts in late September. “Senate leadership and House leadership have been talking, so we’re ready to go…we’d like to get it done as soon as possible,” Reed said.
According to Senate staff sources, negotiators are racing to iron out differences in the two bills before the end of the year and say that both chambers seem interested in paring back some of the most controversial provisions (dealing with DEI and Ukraine funding) to get the bill done. Look for an early December finish.