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New Year, Old Issues

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Welcome back! This week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are in session following their holiday break. Below are some highlights from the first week back:

The State of the Union Marches On … House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) formally invited President Biden to deliver the State of the Union on March 7, 2024. March is unusually late for the State of the Union, which is generally given to a joint session of Congress in January or February. President Biden’s address will follow the January 19 and February 2 deadlines to pass packages aimed at avoiding a government shutdown. It will also come two days after Super Tuesday, when the greatest number of U.S. states hold primary elections and caucuses. Approximately one-third of all delegates for the presidential nominating conventions can be won on Super Tuesday, more than on any other primary election day. State of the Union addresses are not meant as political speeches, however during election years, they often veer closer to campaign speeches than usual. President Biden will talk about a number of international and domestic policies. We anticipate the President discussing his administration’s “junk fees” initiative, which AFSA has addressed in comments to the FTC.

Speaking of the Speaker: Over the weekend, Speaker Johnson announced that a spending deal had been reached with the White House. The new deal would keep the spending levels adopted last summer as part of a debt ceiling deal while engaging in spending cuts, including $10 billion to the IRS mandatory funding and a $6.1 billion clawback of unspent COVID-19 funds. The spending levels, favored by the Democrats, and the spending cuts, favored by the Republicans, ensured bipartisan support. However, Speaker Johnson did not escape criticism from his colleagues on both sides of the Capitol, both explicit and implicit.

Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, on a new Motion to Vacate: “That’s not the road I prefer,” Congressman Roy said on CNN. “I didn’t prefer to go down that road with Speaker McCarthy. We need to figure out how to get this all done together. But it isn’t good, and there’s a lot of my colleagues who are pretty frustrated about it, so we’ll see what happens this week.”

Senate Leadership on a Continuing Resolution: Just two months after Speaker Johnson declared he was finished with short-term continuing resolutions; Senate GOP Leadership has a different view. “Obviously we’re going to have to pass a CR,” Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Tuesday. Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) weighed in as well, cautioning “We’re not going to get all the appropriations bills done by the coming deadline.”

With a razor thin majority and a deliberative Senate, avoiding a partial government shutdown without a continuing resolution will be a difficult job for the new Speaker.

Bordering on a Deal: A small group of Senators, including Michael Bennet (D-CO), James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have been working with the White House for the past few months on reaching a deal that pairs southern border policy changes with Ukraine supplemental funding. While legislative text is unlikely to be released this week, Senator Lankford indicated progress had been made in the new year on some of the outstanding issues. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke about the deal on the Senate floor, saying that negotiators “made more progress in the past couple of days on the border than we have in the past few weeks.”

Should a bipartisan bill pass the Senate, it might have difficulty passing the House. Some Republican members have indicated they will not support a compromise bill. Senator Lankford is planning on meeting with some of those members this week to discuss the potential deal. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) called Senator Lankford “a goalie on a dart team” as he works to thread the needle between both parties and chambers on this bill.

New Year, Old Issues
Jan 11, 2024

Welcome back! This week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are in session following their holiday break. Below are some highlights from the first week back:

The State of the Union Marches On … House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA)… Read the rest

January White Paper: 2024 State Legislative Session Preview
Jan 04, 2024

On January 2, AFSA’s State Government Affairs (SGA) team released its latest white paper. This month’s white paper provides a 2024 State Legislative Session preview and 2023 year-in review.

In 2023, California and D.C. addressed … Read the rest

AFSA Suggests Changes to Financial Data Rulemaking
Jan 04, 2024

Last week, in a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, AFSA reiterated support for innovation in the financial services industry but cautioned against overly restrictive use limitations. The CFPB’s proposed rulemaking to… Read the rest

CEO Roundtable | 2024 Vehicle Finance Conference & Expo
Jan 03, 2024

Get the insights you need for 2024 and beyond from the industry leaders in the know at the capstone session of AFSA’s Vehicle Finance Conference & Expo: the CEO Roundtable. Be a part of 2024’s best vehicle-finance industry gathering, with… Read the rest

Lies & Loans: What’s on the Vehicle Finance Fraud Horizon?
Dec 21, 2023

From false documents, overstating income and phantom loans to synthetic identities and leveraging stolen data on the Dark Web, vehicle finance fraudsters are adapting and innovating as quickly as the technology and techniques used to trap… Read the rest

AFSA & Trades: CFPB AO Not A-Okay
Dec 20, 2023

Earlier this week AFSA joined the Bank Policy Institute, the Consumer Bankers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) raising concerns and requesting clarification on … Read the rest

AFSA Makes Publication Request
Dec 18, 2023

In November the California Third Court of Appeals issued an unpublished decision that affects the vehicle finance industry, Stettner v. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA, LLC. Unpublished opinions are prohibited from being cited … Read the rest

Senators Introduce Anti-ILC Legislation
Dec 15, 2023

Today, AFSA wrote a letter to the Senate Banking Committee in opposition to the recently introduced the Close the Shadow Banking Loophole Act, which targets the ability of Industrial Loan Companies (ILCs) charted entities to exist in the … Read the rest

Senator Reed’s Lump of Coal for Consumers
Dec 15, 2023

Sponsors in the U.S. Senate of the latest national rate cap bill apparently aren’t clear on the concept of holiday giving. The goal should be to give a gift, not take things away. Yet that is what Sen. Jack Reed’s “all-in” 36% APR cap legislation… Read the rest

Jay Powell Dons His Santa Hat
Dec 14, 2023

Yesterday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to hold the short-term interest rate steady for the third consecutive meeting at a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent came as no surprise. Indeed, financial markets had consistently in recent weeks put… Read the rest

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