President Trump on Thursday signed a bipartisan bill that was voted favorably on by Alabama’s members of Congress to loosen key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. It was the first major change to President Obama’s landmark banking law.
Two days after the House of Representatives including all of Alabama’s House members voted 258-159 to pass S. 2155, Trump signed the bill that exempts dozens of banks from strict federal regulation. The Senate previously passed the bill by a vote of 67-31 with Alabama’s U.S. senators voting for it.
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, praised Trump’s decision to sign the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act” into law that reforms harmful Dodd-Frank provisions and helps community banks and credit unions.
“This thoughtful, bipartisan legislation delivers significant relief for local community financial institutions throughout the nation,” said Senator Shelby. “The passage of this bill corrects hastily prepared regulations that have been enforced since the enactment of the failing Dodd-Frank, removing barriers that have halted the growth of small business for years. I have supported these efforts for nearly a decade, and I look forward to the implementation of this historic reform.”
The legislation allows financial regulators to focus on the institutions that pose the greatest systemic risk to the economy. It reduces unnecessary burdens on small, medium-sized, and regional banks and credit unions, allowing them to use more of their capital to serve customers rather than to comply with many over-burdensome federal regulations.
Trump had promised to “dismantle” Dodd-Frank. While the bill will release dozens of banks from stronger Federal Reserve oversight, it falls short of the president’s desire to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank in its entirety.
“This is truly a great day for Americans, and a great day for workers and small businesses across the nation,” Trump said.
The compromise leaves most of Dodd-Frank in place but provides a major boost for some of the largest U.S. banks, the Hill reported. The measure releases regional banks from tighter regulation by raising the threshold for closer Fed oversight from $50 billion to $250 billion in assets.
“They shouldn’t be regulated the same way as big complex financial institutions,” Trump said of smaller institutions. “This is all about the Dodd-Frank disaster.”
BILL ALSO HELPS MANUFACTURED HOUSING
S.B. 2155 also helps Alabama’s manufactured housing retail sales centers to work with customers and ease their home-buying process. (See above vote.)
The bill supported by the Alabama Manufactured Housing Association, a member of the BCA, will allow Alabama’s 169 manufactured housing retail sales centers to help customers by eliminating language that treats them as “loan originators.” That designation has prevented retailers from being able to refer customers to a specific bank or finance company, help them with the loan application, or even discuss monthly payments.
“The passage of S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, is indeed a win for the manufactured housing industry,” AMHA Executive Director Doris Hydrick said. “I want to thank Senators Shelby and Jones for their support of this bill, and the entire Alabama house members for their support also, especially Congresswoman Terri Sewell for her continued support of the manufactured housing industry.
“The passage of this bill will allow the dream of home ownership to become a reality for Alabamians and people across the nation,” Hydrick said.
The bill treats manufactured housing retailers the same as real estate agents, the AMHA said. “Just as a real estate agent’s sales commission does not make them a loan originator under CFPB rules, a similar distinction is needed for those selling manufactured homes,” AMHA Deputy Director Lance Latham said.
The bill keeps important consumer protections that prevent predatory lending. Language in the bill prohibits kickbacks or steering and explicitly bars retailers from receiving compensation related to the loan without being licensed as a loan originator, requires disclosures if a lender is a corporate affiliate, and prohibits retailers from negotiating loan terms with the consumer or the lender without being licensed as a loan originator.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION EXPLORES AUTO TARIFFS, CITING NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that it will look into the possibility of using national-security laws to impose steep tariffs on auto imports.
This follows China’s announcement it will cut its import duty on passenger cars on July 1 from 25 percent to 15 percent following a meeting with President Donald Trump to resolve a trade dispute between the two nations, United Press International reported this week.
The 25 percent duty has been in place for more than a decade. China also agreed to significantly increase purchases of U.S. goods and services after the meetings between Trump and Vice Premier Liu He.
The announcement came after President Trump reportedly asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to consider implementing a 25 percent tariff on auto imports, following through on a protectionist promise made repeatedly since taking office, National Review Online reported. “There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry,” Ross said in a statement.
“There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!,” Trump tweeted.
The European Union import tax on cars from the United States is four times the U.S. import tax, 10 percent compared with 2.5 percent.
NAM ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR JOBS FOR SUCCESS ACT
The National Association of Manufacturers urges support of legislation in a House committee this week that will help train more Americans for future New-Collar Jobs.
NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons this week released a statement backing the Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act of 2018.
“The JOBS for Success Act creates new opportunities for people left behind to join the 21stCentury manufacturing workforce,” Timmons said. “This legislation will help us upskill more Americans for the new-collar jobs of the future, provide the dignity of work along with the necessary wraparound social services to support people at work and enhance the talents of those who are unemployed or underemployed by allowing them to find meaningful career paths in a rapidly changing and evolving economy.
Timmons said manufacturers are confident thanks to recent tax and regulatory reforms that have spurred record levels of optimism. He said there are 391,000 openings today for skilled workers and there will be 3.5 million positions to fill by 2025. Workforce solutions, such as the JOBS for Success Act, are a must for our country to remain competitive and stand out as exceptional in the global economy.
Timmons is the board chairman of The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s 501c3 affiliate dedicated to developing and implementing solutions to workforce development issues affecting the manufacturing sector. Timmons also served on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. The BCA is the exclusive partner of NAM in Alabama.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Path Forward for U.S.-China Trade
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Donohue 5/21) “The trade relationship between the U.S. and China has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. The two countries have an enormous impact on each other’s economies, trading more than $700 billion worth of goods and services every year. Much of that trade benefits small and midsize businesses throughout the U.S.
“Amid all the business our nations conduct, there are bound to be issues of contention and disagreement. This is especially true given the gap between America’s model of free enterprise and China’s model of state capitalism … it’s important that we agree on a common set of rules for the global economy and international trade-and then live by them. These rules must ensure that both of our economies can compete on a level playing field.
Mutually beneficial commercial deals can and must continue to be successfully negotiated, even as we confront challenges. The commercial issues before us today are important, and we should take them seriously. But we can work through them-not all of them overnight, but certainly over time. Our goal must be to secure near-term progress on as many of the systemic issues as possible so that we can regain the positive momentum in U.S.-China economic relations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is ready to help preserve and expand our fruitful commercial links in a system that is open, level, and fair.”
Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
IRS to Issue Guidance on State Efforts to Circumvent Tax-Law provision
The Hill (Jagoda 5/23) “The Treasury Department and IRS announced Wednesday that they will issue guidance relating to blue states’ efforts to circumvent limits on state and local tax deductions under the GOP-backed tax law. A notice issued by the agencies signaling their intent to propose regulations comes as tax experts and politicians debate whether the IRS would bless the workarounds states are putting forward.
“Under the new law, the state and local tax (SALT) deduction is capped at $10,000. The new limit on the deduction has been a concern for elected officials in high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, who worry that it will lead to an increase in their residents’ federal income taxes. Politicians in blue states have proposed or enacted measures to provide workarounds to the cap on the SALT deduction.
“Treasury and the IRS said in their notice that ‘the proposed regulations will make clear that the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, informed by substance-over-form principles, govern the federal income tax treatment of such transfers.’ The agencies also said that ‘taxpayers should be mindful that federal law controls the proper characterization of payments for federal income tax purposes.’ Jared Walczak, senior policy analyst with the Tax Foundation, said … that Treasury and the IRS will treat the donations as tax obligations that are not deductible, even if states call them charitable contributions. [M]ost … Republicans voted for the bill, arguing that the federal government shouldn’t be subsidizing state taxes.”