Government Shutdown Looms

On Friday, House Republicans are expected to release a two-week stop-gap funding measure that would cut $4 billion in spending from the current fiscal year’s budget. While Senate Democrats have indicated they will likely not support the proposed $4 billion in cuts, momentum has shifted towards reaching an agreement to avoid a March 5th shutdown when the current funding measure expires. The new Republican spending measure will come on the heels of the just passed House Republicans’ seven-month appropriation bill that would have slashed $61 billion from the current fiscal year spending. The yet to be released House Republican spending plan is expected to make the cuts in the two-week spending bill proportional to the levels in the measure passed last week.

However, if House Republicans and Senate Democrats are unable to reach an agreement, the federal government shutdown would be guided by the Anti-Deficiency Act, which mandates that the only government activities allowed in the absence of a funding plan are those connected to “the safety of human life or the protection of property.” Programs and agencies that would be likely exempt from the shutdown are Social Security, uniformed military personnel, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and border security. However, among the most likely high profile federal government activities that would be shutdown are applications for passports and visas, accepting visitors at national parks, new patients at the National Institutes of Health, disease surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control, and toxic waste clean-up by the EPA.

Federal Reserve Closes Comment Period on New Debit Card Rules

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve closed its comment period on its proposed rules to implement new interchange regulations and other debit card provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law’s Durbin Amendment. The Fed is expected to issue its final rules in April.

House Financial Services Committee Announces First Legislative Markup

Next week, the House Financial Services Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee will hold a hearing on four bills on March 2, and the full Committee will hold a markup of the legislation on March 3. The first bill on the markup calendar is the HAMP Termination Act, which would end the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program. The second bill is the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Termination Act, which would end the NSP, a program that funds the repurchase of foreclosed homes. The third bill is the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act which would end the Federal Housing Administration’s multi-billion mortgage refinance dollar program, of which only $50 million has been spent. Finally, the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act is also on the markup calendar and would end the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s program of lending money to borrowers who are facing foreclosure.

More Information

If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, please contact:

Matt Jessee, Policy Advisor
1 314 259 2463