House panel moves 11 bills to roll back regulations

The House Financial Services Committee advanced a package of 11 bills Thursday aimed at trimming regulations.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) noted that the panel has seen 22 of its bills pass the full House, only to go nowhere in the Senate. He called on his Democratic colleagues, some of whom backed some of the measures, to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to take them up.

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“I would strongly encourage my Democratic colleagues, who may spend more quality time with the Senate Majority Leader and the President than do I, to encourage them to take up these bills, to contact their friends and colleagues in the Senate and in the White House and urge them to pay attention to what our committee has put forth on a bipartisan basis,” he said in a press release. “This would indeed be very, very constructive.”

The panel passed many of the bills Thursday with slim margins along partisan lines. Several are aimed at trimming and streamlining regulations to make it easier for small companies to raise funds. The bills are an effort to continue the work of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a law enacted in the last Congress that also streamlined rules for smaller companies looking to raise capital.

Several of the bills would roll back regulations put in place by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC also opposed the JOBS Act, which took aim at its rules, when the bill was first considered.

But while the bulk of the bills are partisan measures unlikely to gain traction in the Democratic-controlled Senate, a handful of the bills have robust bipartisan support. Two bills passed unanimously, and two others were approved by the panel on a voice vote.

One from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) would eliminate “duplicative” regulations that require private equity companies to pay fees that could instead be invested directly in small businesses. Another, from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), would allow companies to summarize their corporate disclosures for investors.

The two bills the passed with voice votes take aim at new housing rules coming in the wake of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

One, from Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), would clarify that sellers of manufactured homes like mobile homes are not considered “mortgage originators” for regulatory purposes. Mobile-home sellers usually provide financing more similar to a car loan than a mortgage, although the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had pushed to bring them under the same rules as traditional mortgage lenders.

The second, from Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), would alter the definition of “points and fees” for purposes of mortgage regulation.