Republicans Seek to Block Climate Risk Assessment, Postal Banking

By David Baumann - July 15, 2022

Potential amendments to Financial Services Appropriations measure could impact credit union industry.


House Republicans next week plan to try to amend the FY23 Financial Services Appropriations measure to prohibit postal banking and to stop financial regulators from assessing the risk of climate change.

Those proposals were included in dozens of amendments that the House Rules Committee will consider when it meets Monday to set the parameters for floor debate on the bill. House Democratic leaders have combined six appropriations bills into a single funding bill that will be considered on the House floor.

If the budget process were operating as prescribed in House rules, those six bills would have been considered individually.

Climate Change

Among the dozens of amendments submitted by Republicans to the Rules Committee was a proposal to prohibit the Treasury Department and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) from assessing climate-related risks to financial stability.

FSOC already has issued a statement saying that climate-related issues pose a threat to the safety and soundness of the financial system. Individual financial regulators have handled the issue in a variety of ways.

With two Republicans—Rodney Hood and Kyle Hauptman—on the NCUA board, Democratic Chairman Todd Harper has been blocked from making policy decisions that would direct agency examiners to assess the risks during examinations.

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., is seeking to end all efforts to assess the impact of climate change on the banking system.

Postal Banking

A separate proposal aims to prohibit funds from being used to carry out the postal banking pilot program being run by the U.S. Postal Service. Under that program, customers may cash business and payroll checks in exchange for gift cards.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., is seeking to offer that amendment. He and House Financial Services Committee ranking Republican Patrick McHenry of North Carolina also are proposing a broader amendment that would prohibit any federal agency from accepting “deposits or provide checking or savings accounts, automated teller machines, or mobile banking options.”

Other Amendments

Further notable amendments included a proposal to prohibit the Small Business Administration (SBA) from using funds to implement a direct lending program. The amendment, being offered by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, would end efforts by the SBA to establish such a program.

Additionally, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., is seeking to offer an amendment to prohibit funds from being used to obtain customer information from either a credit union or bank without probable cause or a warrant.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not begun considering its FY23 spend bills yet. Senate Appropriation Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who is recovering from hip replacement surgery, said this week that he anticipates Democrats will release their bills at the end of this month.

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