Tom RamstackTom RamstackFebruary 15, 201824min148

H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 620 in the House.

H.R. 620 is intended to protect disabled persons while providing business owners with the opportunity to remedy alleged Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations before incurring litigation costs. The bill amends the private enforcement provisions of the ADA’s Title III to require a notice and cure period before litigation. It requires the Justice Department to develop a program to educate state and local governments and property owners on strategies to promote access to public accommodations for disabled persons. It requires the Judicial Conference of the United States to develop a model program to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve claims of architectural barriers for public accommodations.The 1990 ADA is designed to “provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” Title III prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating against the disabled persons. The U.S. Attorney General has issued regulations and guidance to ensure that no individual is discriminated against on the basis of disability for access to public accommodations. The public accommodations must be made free from architectural and communications barriers. Title III also provides a private right of action for preventive relief, which can include an injunction or restraining order.

Passed.

No  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 3299: Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 3299 in the House.

H.R. 3299 is intended to clear up uncertainties about interest rates on home loans. It amends the Home Owners’ Loan Act, the Federal Credit Union Act and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to require interest rates on certain loans to remain unchanged when banks sell or assign loans to third parties. The bill is largely a reaction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 2015 ruling in Madden v. Midland Funding. The court said that while the National Bank Act allows federally chartered banks to charge interest under the laws of their home states, non-banks that buy the loans could not continue to collect the same interest because they are subject to limits of the borrower’s state. The Second Circuit did not apply the “valid when made” doctrine and held that the National Bank Act did not preempt state usury laws because Midland was not a national bank but rather a “third party.” The Madden decision created market uncertainty and risk for bank lending programs, including “bank model” marketplace lending in which national banks originate loans and then transfer them to non-bank third parties. Sponsors of the bill said offering consistent terms nationwide is vital to keeping interest rates low by allowing lenders to access cheaper investment capital and to pass along the savings to borrowers.

Passed.

No  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 3978: TRID Improvement Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 3978 in the House.

H.R. 3978 includes the text of six bills intended to ensure transparency in the financial industry and to clarify the duties of parties to transactions.

Title I: TRID Improvement (H.R. 3978)

Title I amends the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to require mortgage lenders to disclose in the closing documents for mortgages the discounted rates given to consumers for certain title insurance premiums.

Title II: Protection of Source Code (H.R. 3948)

Title II amends the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to require the Securities and Exchange Commission to first issue a subpoena before it compels anyone to produce algorithmic trading source codes or similar intellectual property.

Title III: Fostering Innovation (H.R. 1645)

Title III amends Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to extend the exemption of emerging growth companies from the auditor attestation of a company’s internal controls over financial reporting requirement. Current law allows the exemption for five years. This bill extends the exemption until the earlier of ten years after the emerging growth company goes public, the end of the fiscal year in which the company’s average gross revenues exceed $50 million or when the company qualifies with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a large accelerated filer.

Title IV: National Security Exchange Regulatory Parity (H.R. 4546)

Title IV modifies Section 18 of the Securities Act of 1933 to eliminate references to specific national securities exchanges. The Title also clarifies that the state ‘‘blue sky’’ exemption shall be available for all securities that qualify for trading in the national market system under section 11A(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Title V: Eliminating Barriers to Jobs for Loan Originators (H.R. 2948)

Title V amends the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 to provide temporary loan origination authority to anyone registered as a loan originator who meets requirements to continue to originate loans after: (1) moving from a financial institution to a state-licensed non-bank originator or (2) moving interstate to a state-licensed loan originator in another state.

Title VI: Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement (H.R. 4061)

Title VI codifies into law the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s transparency and systemically important financial institution (SIFI) designation process improvements. It is supposed to authorize non-bank financial companies to self-cure by carrying out de-risking activities before being designated a SIFI. By promoting transparency in the SIFI designation process, this legislation is supposed to facilitate clearer analysis of the methods the Financial Stability Oversight Council uses to assess the risk associated with the asset management industry.

Passed.

No  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.Res. 129: Calling on the Department of Defense, other elements of the federal government and foreign governments to intensify efforts to investigate, recover, and identify all missing and unaccounted-for personnel of the United States.

This was a vote to agree to H.Res. 129 in the House.

H.Res. 129 calls on the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, other federal agencies and foreign governments to continue to account for missing U.S. personnel from past wars and conflicts. The resolution is based on evidence that there is no account of the fate of more than 83,000 U.S. military personnel from past wars and conflicts. They include about 50,000 World War II Navy personnel lost at sea who are unlikely to be recovered. The National League of POW/MIA Families has led the accounting effort since 1970. They have been joined by Korean War, Cold War and World War II families with support from the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Special Forces Association, Special Operations Association and Rolling Thunder.

Passed.

Yes  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 3542: Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 3542 in the House.

H.R. 3542 says U.S. policy condemns the use of human shields by the militant Palestinian organization Hamas and their supporters as an act of terrorism and a violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. The bill urges the president to direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to use U.S. influence at the U.N. Security Council to secure support for a resolution imposing sanctions against Hamas’ use of human shields. The president is required to prohibit property transactions and U.S. entry for all Hamas members and their associates or anyone who has helped in the use of human shields. The president can waive a sanction for 180 days after congressional certification that the waiver is vital to U.S. national security interests. Evidence for the bill was drawn from reports that Hamas uses human shields to deter attacks on military targets and to exploit any incidental harm caused by military attacks.

Passed.

Yes  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

Sources: GovTrack and congressional reports


Cliff_May_02-high_res-e1455772348388.jpg

Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayJune 15, 20178min427

In the aftermath of the terrorist atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush drew a line in the sand. “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make,” he announced. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Since then, disappointingly if not surprisingly, more than a few nations have straddled that line, providing support to America and America’s enemies alike. Is that because they sympathize with the goals of the terrorists or because they’re afraid of the terrorists or is there some other explanation? It’s not clear. What is: No nation has hedged its bets more egregiously than Qatar.


Cliff_May_02-high_res-e1455772348388.jpg

Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayJanuary 5, 201710min349

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively. So when the U.N. Security Council on Dec. 23 passed a resolution condemning Israel, PIJ spokesman Dawood Shihab was pleased. He called it a “victory.” He wasn’t wrong. Nor was Fawzy Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, another organization openly committed to Israel’s extermination, as well as to “a jihadi revolution” that will be a “prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic caliphate.” He called the resolution an “important evolution in international positions.” He expressed Hamas’ “appreciation.” Most deserving of their gratitude is Barack Obama who decided to spend his last days in office playing golf in Hawaii and throwing America’s most reliable ally to the wolves at the U.N., an organization that exhibits passivity when it comes to the ongoing carnage in Syria, the genocide of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in the broader Middle East, the conflict in Yemen, failing states — the list goes on and on.


Cliff_May_02-high_res-e1455772348388.jpg

Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayNovember 3, 20168min397

Ayman al-Zawahiri was correct. Believed to be ensconced in the tribal lands of Pakistan, the leader of what’s sometimes called al Qaeda Central has dedicated his life to a jihad that he hopes and prays will lead to the founding of a new and mighty Islamic empire. But he understands the value of strategic patience. In particular, he recognized that establishing a caliphate before conditions were favorable for its survival and expansion could only be unhelpful, causing Muslims to doubt whether spreading Islamic domination in the 21st century is a divinely blessed mission.


Cliff_May_02-high_res-e1455772348388.jpg

Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayOctober 27, 20169min684

You’re probably familiar with the old story about the inebriated guy looking for his wallet at night under a streetlight — not because that’s where he dropped it but because what would be the point of poking around in the dark? This, in essence, has been the American approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for years. Over and over, the Israelis are asked to make concessions, to “take risks for peace.” Under pressure, they sometimes do. Reciprocal concessions are not demanded of Palestinian leaders because what would be the point of asking for what they can’t or won’t do? Hamas, which rules Gaza, rejects the very idea of peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state. Hamas’ openly stated goal is Israel’s annihilation. As for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he can’t set foot in Gaza and, on the West Bank, his support has grown so thin he couldn’t sign a peace agreement with Israel even if he wanted to — and it’s by no means clear he does.


Cliff_May_02-high_res-e1455772348388.jpg

Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayJune 16, 20167min414

The French government last week initiated a new “peace process.” Ignoring the butchery underway in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, as well as the threat Iran now poses to the Middle East, their focus is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The French initiative could turn out to be a waste of time, one more round of diplomatic blather and posturing. Let’s hope so. The alternative is that it will do further damage to both Israelis and Palestinians. Envoys from 26 nations attended the opening “summit” in Paris last Friday. They agree that a “two-state solution” is the answer. They do not agree on the question. Is the problem that a Palestinian state does not exist? Or is the problem that a Jewish state does?