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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts


12,456 subscribers

May 11, 2018

Telephone Community Meetings

Thanks to those who joined us Tuesday night for our telephone community meeting. If you’d like to participate in one of our remaining meetings, just call 877-229-8493 and use PIN 116139 at one of the times listed below. If you’d like to ask me a question, press *3 after joining the meeting. They will take place on the following evenings:

  • Wednesday May 16th from 7:05 – 8:05 PM
  • Thursday May 17th from 7:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday May 23rd from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

The Iran Deal

President Trump’s decision to back out of the Iran deal could very well be the most dangerous action he has taken so far. For those of us who do not want Iran to build a nuclear weapon and do not want to encourage an unnecessary war, the best we can do is hope that our European allies can convince the Iranians not to resume work on a nuclear weapon. Trump appears to be making a high stakes gamble that harsher sanctions will bring around regime change. I think most people and most nations do not like to be bullied, and I think he is almost certain to fail. Worse, Trump’s action today also sends a clear message to other countries that they can no longer trust the United States under the Trump administration to uphold our agreements.

Overreach on the Congressional Review Act

On Tuesday the House considered S.J. Res. 57, Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection related to “Indirect Auto Lending and Compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act”. The resolution invalidates a five year old guidance document issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) expressing its position that lenders who provide auto financing through dealerships are still subject to compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act’s prohibition on discriminatory lending. After studying the issue, CFPB found that minority borrowers are often given financing at a higher cost and with less favorable terms. Issuing the guidance put the industry on notice that such behavior is illegal and can lead to enforcement action.

The mere fact that the lender is providing the loan indirectly using the car dealership as the intermediary does not absolve the lender from ECOA compliance. Indirect auto lenders include banks such as Wells Fargo and car manufacturers such as Toyota. While some members of Congress have introduced standalone legislation to repeal the CFPB guidance with provisions requiring the CFPB to revise its guidance, this use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal a federal agency guidance document is troubling and has consequences far beyond the auto lending issue. If Congress repeals an agency document under CRA, there is no judicial review of that repeal and the agency whose document was repealed is forbidden from issuing a substantially similar rule in the future unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the CRA resolution disapproving the original rule. Using CRA in this way could cause untold havoc throughout the federal government as any guidance, notice, or rule that Congress currently does not like - no matter how old, or how much reliance has been placed upon it, or how important to the public health and safety – could face repeal. Think of the worker protections, healthcare notices, environmental rules, civil rights guidance that could be on the chopping block now that Republicans in Congress have secured this “win”. I voted NO. S.J. Res. 57 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

223

1

1

0

DEMOCRAT

11

174

1

8

TOTAL

234

175

1

18

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Weakening the FTC

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 5645, the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews through Equal Rules Act. This legislation weakens the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) oversight authority over large corporate mergers by eliminating its ability to uphold antitrust law and protect consumers through its administrative authority. H.R. 5645 would require the FTC to take its challenges to federal court, significantly extending the amount of time it would take to resolve a case and burdening consumers in the process. This effectively alters the independent mission of the FTC, making it a plaintiff, not a regulator. I voted NO. H.R. 5645 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

226

1

0

8

DEMOCRAT

4

184

0

5

TOTAL

230

185

0

13

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Jeopardizing Grant Funding

On Wednesday the House also considered H.R. 2152, the Citizens’ Right to Know Act. This legislation places troubling reporting requirements on government entities utilizing Department of Justice (DOJ) grant funding for pretrial services programs. These programs take the place of money bail for those who cannot afford to post it. H.R. 2152 requires all states using DOJ grant money for pretrial services to annually report how much is spent on the program and to provide the DOJ with certain personal information about defendants, including their names and any conviction records. The DOJ in turn would make that information publicly available. States refusing to comply with the disclosure requirement would lose the federal grant funding. I voted NO. H.R. 2152 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

219

8

0

8

DEMOCRAT

2

189

0

2

TOTAL

221

197

0

10

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

Behind the Curtain — More House and Trump Administration Actions You Don’t Want to Miss

Here are this week’s additions. If you need to catch up or share with friends, you can find the full list here.

  1. The Trump Administration’s Department of Education proposed to delay for two years a rule that would ensure states prioritize efforts to examine racial biases in special education, particularly if a disproportionate number of minority children are being enrolled in special education. This “significant disproportionality rule” should be taking effect in July of 2018 but instead the Department of Education opened a comment period to determine if it is needed. Delaying or discarding this rule will leave a persistent problem unaddressed. I am submitting testimony calling for the immediate implementation of the “significant disproportionality rule” as Congress intended.
  2. In May of 2018 Donald Trump suggested that he could “take away credentials” of media organizations pursuing negative stories about him. This is yet another direct attack on freedom of the press from this administration.
  3. In April of 2018 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director (CFPB) Mick Mulvaney announced he was thinking about ending the public’s access to the bureau’s complaint database. This consumer complaint database is a critically important tool that consumers use to report their experiences with financial services institutions such as student loan servicers, credit card companies and debt collectors. Republicans may talk about transparency and accountability in government but don’t do much about it. In this instance the Trump administration is seeking to actively block transparency (again).
  4. As reported above, in May of 2018 the House voted to repeal CFPB guidance to help prevent discrimination in auto lending. S.J. Res 57 sets a dangerous precedent by using the CRA to repeal a 5 year old guidance document.

What’s Up Next

The next votes will take place on Tuesday May 15th. The House is expected to consider H.R. 5698, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 as well as H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

P.S. I welcome your feedback on our e-Updates. Please let me and my staff know what you think of this service by e-mailing our office.


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Stetson Hall Room 124, 6 South Main Street, Randolph

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DC Office Phone:

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