House committee passes bill to end homelessness

Mortgage & Real Estate

Last week, the House Financial Services Committee held a markup of five bills, one of which addresses homelessness in the U.S.

HR 1856, the Ending Homelessness Act, would provide $13.27 billion in new funding over the next five years to federal programs and initiatives to prevent homelessness. The funding allotted for new units of affordable housing, new vouchers, case management and technical assistance.

The legislation was introduced by Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and passed by a vote of 32 to 26 Friday.

When Waters first took over as chair, she vowed she would focus on protecting consumers and investors from abusive financial practices, ensuring strong safeguards to prevent another financial crisis, expand affordable housing, encourage responsible innovation in financial technology, promote diversity and inclusion and get Americans and small businesses fair access to the financial system.

“As Chairwoman, I will continue to have an open-door policy, in order to hear the perspectives of all stakeholders, including representatives of the financial services industry as well as advocates for consumers and investors,” she said at the time. “I will continue to work with both Democratic colleagues and my colleagues across the aisle to find commonsense solutions to benefit hardworking Americans and protect vulnerable families.”

But the committee’s Republicans weren’t quite on board with the passage of the act.

“There’s not one person on this committee that doesn’t want to end homelessness, but authorizing $13 billion in mandatory spending over five years actually won’t end homelessness,” Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said. “It feeds a broken system that will not yield results.”

And while Democrats currently hold the majority in the House, without the support of both sides, the bill is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Here is the other legislation passed last week by the committee:

HR 389, Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act

This legislation establishes a rewards program to incentivize individuals to notify the U.S. government of assets in U.S. financial institutions that are linked to foreign corruption, allowing authorities to recover and return these assets and prevent further of enabling foreign corruption and terrorist financing. Rewards are paid with funds taken from the recovered stolen assets.

This bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., and Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C. It was approved on a voice vote.

HR 1500, the Consumers First Act

This legislation blocks the Trump Administration’s “anti-consumer agenda” and reverses what Democrats called Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s efforts to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when he served as acting director.

This bill was introduced by Waters and passed by a vote of 34 to 26.

But again, Republicans voted against this bill.

“If you really want to make the agency accountable to the American people, let’s start with the fundamentals: change the CFPB’s organizational structure, its fundamental mechanisms, create an office of inspector general… all of which would bring greater transparency and accountability,” McHenry said.

HR 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act

The bipartisan legislation would prohibit federal banking regulators from engaging in certain actions against financial institutions, such as discouraging, prohibiting, or penalizing depository institutions that serve cannabis-related legitimate businesses.

It was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, and Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio. It passed by a vote of 45 to 15.

HR 1815, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Disclosure Effectiveness Testing Act

This legislation would build on efforts to engage in investor testing by requiring the SEC to conduct usability testing of any new disclosure intended for retail investors. It would also require the SEC to review and test the usability of its existing disclosures for retail investors, such as mutual fund disclosures. Such reviews and tests would be required prior to the SEC adopting a final rulemaking.

This legislation was introduced by Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., and passed by a vote of 33 to 26.

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