Senate Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Foster Economic Growth and Reduce Regulatory Burden for Small Businesses

11/30/2017 8:00 AM

The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act also instills consumer protections related to credit reporting, veteran’s medical debt and fraud alerts.


Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act” after members of the committee reached a bipartisan agreement on a legislative proposal to improve the nation’s financial regulatory framework and promote economic growth.

The long-awaited Senate legislation was influenced by responses that Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, received from the public about proposals to spur economic growth. It also has been partly influenced by the recommendations set forth by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Earlier this year, the House passed on a party-line vote H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s, R-Texas, bill to comprehensively reform the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

S. 2155 is narrower in scope than the House bill and has garnered the support of nine Democratic senators.

It also includes consumer protections for veterans, senior citizens and victims of fraud.

The legislation addresses access to mortgage credit, regulatory relief for community lenders, and consumer protection, according to a news release from Crapo’s office. In particular it recognizes the importance of tailoring regulation appropriately, especially for community banks, credit unions and regional banks. It also increases protection for consumers subject to fraud and financial struggles.

“A strong and vibrant economy is important for American consumers, businesses, and the stability of the financial sector,” Crapo said in the news release. “This bipartisan legislation will significantly improve our financial regulatory framework and foster economic growth by right-sizing regulation, particularly for smaller financial institutions and community banks.” 

According to a summary of the legislation, it also includes provisions for credit bureaus to protect consumers’ credit through fraud alerts and credit freezes. The legislation amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to exclude certain medical debt incurred by a veteran from their credit report if the medical services predates the credit report by less than one year as well as paid or settled veteran’s medical debt characterized as delinquent, charged off or in collection. It also establishes a dispute process for consumer reporting agencies with respect to such veterans’ medical debt, according to the summary.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold an executive session on the legislation Dec. 5. The session will be available to watch online starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.

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