Midterms 2018: Impact on the ARM Industry

ACA International prepares to educate the new leadership and incoming members of the House and Senate about issues important to the accounts receivable management industry.

11/7/2018 8:00 AM

Midterms 2018: Impact on the ARM Industry

As the Democrats gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, ACA International remains positioned to move forward with its bipartisan advocacy approach aimed at educating new leadership and other lawmakers about policy important to the accounts receivable management industry.

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will likely chair the House Financial Services Committee which has jurisdiction over many issues important to the industry and frequently holds hearings, writes letters and crafts legislation about matters related to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. While the committee does not have Congressional oversight of the BCFP as the bureau is not subject to the appropriations process, former BCFP Director Richard Cordray and current Acting Director Mick Mulvaney voluntarily testified before the committee.

At press time, the split in the House was 222 seats for the Democrats and 197 seats for the Republicans. In the Senate, the Democrats hold 46 seats compared to the 52 seats for the Republicans as two races (Arizona and Mississippi) remain undecided.

ACA International CEO Mark Neeb praised candidates on both sides of the aisle for running informative campaigns that will help guide the association in its advocacy efforts during the next two years. “ACA International looks forward to cultivating relationships with policymakers in the 116th Congress as we prepare for important updates and changes in our industry due to the anticipated rulemaking process in March 2019 and potential action on TCPA reform. We value open dialogue with policymakers as we strive to effectively represent the best interests of our members before all state and federal officials.”   

New Leadership in House

Waters introduced HR 6972, the "Consumers First Act," last month to “reverse the harmful changes the Trump administration has imposed on the consumer bureau [Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection].”  

Meanwhile, ACA International maintains a positive working relationship with the BCFP, even hosting the bureau’s acting director Mick Mulvaney as its keynote speaker last May at the Washington Insights Conference and meeting with him several times at industry roundtables.

Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, is expected to be replaced by Trump nominee Kathy Kraninger who is awaiting a confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate. It’s unclear as to whether the Kraninger vote will occur during the lame duck session or after the 116th Congress gets underway. However, with the Republicans widening their majority in the Senate, her successful confirmation appears to be fairly certain.

Regardless, Kraninger will face a different House Financial Services Committee in 2019 if she becomes the permanent BCFP director, possibly overseeing the release next March of the long-awaited rules that regulate the accounts receivable management industry.

The committee’s current chairman, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is retiring, leaving the party’s leadership possibly to Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., who held onto his seat Tuesday and is expected to serve as the committee’s minority leader.

Luetkemeyer has championed the elimination of Operation Choke Point, the Obama-era program that cut off banking services for licensed, legal operating businesses including debt collection. Recently, Luetkemeyer called for an investigation into regulatory agencies such as the BCFP that have denied knowledge or involvement in the controversial program that has impacted ACA members.  

Other House members currently serving on the Financial Services Committee who held their seats Tuesday include Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky.;  Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.; and Denny Heck, D-Wash.

Also on Financial Services, Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., lost his run against Democrat Conor Lamb, while Ann Wagner, R-MO., won her race against Democrat Cort VanOstran. And Dave Trott, R-Mich., a former accounts receivable management industry professional, did not seek re-election

House Energy and Commerce Committee member Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican who spoke at the Washington Insights Conference, was defeated by Democrat Tom Malinowski.

GOP Holds the Senate

Making the headlines Tuesday night, Republican Josh Hawley claimed victory over Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, “toppling one of [the] Senate Democrats’ last remaining moderate voices,” according to The New York Times. The loss of seats held by moderate Democrats Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, will “all but certain[ly] shift Senate Democrats center considerably leftward in the next two years,” according to the report.

Heitkamp was defeated by U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer who was referred to as a “proud and fiercely conservative partisan” by The New York Times.

U.S. Senators Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, held their seats as well. Cruz, an outspoken supporter of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, was in a tight race against Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat challenger who raised a whopping $70 million to run is underdog campaign. And Marsha Blackburn, a Republican representing Tennessee, held onto her seat despite a challenge from Phil Bredesen, a once popular governor of the Volunteer State.

The Republican victory in the Senate may change the makeup of the Senate Banking Committee, now chaired by Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho, according to the American Bankers Association. It is unclear if Crapo will remain chairman, as he has been mentioned as a possible chairman for the Senate Finance Committee. If that’s the case, it’s possible that Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., could lead the Banking Committee, which also hears matters related to the BCFP.

And, speaking of the BCFP, former Director Richard Cordray, who vacated the seat a year ago to run for Ohio governor, lost his race against Republican Mike DeWine.

To learn more about the state races, click here to listen the latest episode of ACA Cast featuring Andy Madden, ACA’s vice president of government and state affairs, who will offer details about Tuesday’s state elections. In next week’s episode of ACA Cast, Leah Dempsey, senior counsel and vice president, federal affairs, and Rae Ann Bevington, vice president of congressional and political affairs, will offer perspective on the federal races and their impact on the accounts receivable management industry.

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