Combative Debate Delays PATH Act in Committee


Debate on the markup of the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act, which would eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bordered on combative Tuesday as congressmen from opposing parties talked over each other and quarreled over the bill’s details.

But despite the show, Democrats did not successfully add any amendments to the bill as Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee outnumbered them and consistently voted along party lines.

And after 11 hours of debate, the committee was forced to adjourn without a vote, scheduling it for Wednesday when Republicans are expected to pass it.

Although no specific credit union amendments were proposed, such as adding supplemental capital to the bill’s regulatory relief section, credit unions did receive a lot of lip service from both parties, according to NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler.

“From a credit union perspective, there has been a lot of talk about what impact the bill will have upon community banks and credit unions,” Thaler said Tuesday evening via phone from outside the committee hearing room on Capitol Hill, as the mark up stretched into its eighth hour. “Republicans are talking a lot about Title IV regulatory relief, and the Democrats are talking about concerns regarding secondary market access. So both sides have made a lot of mention of credit unions, just in different context.”

The markup, broadcast live by Internet feed from the committee website, featured spirited debate on topics such as the conforming mortgage loan limit. The bill would reduce conforming limits in high cost areas of the country to $525,000, down from the current limit of $625,500. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) proposed an amendment that would strike that section from the bill, saying it was unfair to homeowners in districts such as his in Southern California.

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