U.S. Senate rejects CRA resolution to block changes to the Community Reinvestment Act

On October 19, the U.S. Senate rejected a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block a new banking rule issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

The resolution, passed by the U.S. House in June, failed on a procedural vote of 48 to 43 in the U.S. Senate. Democratic members of the Senate, Susan Collins (R-Maine), and both independent senators voted in favor of the resolution. The other Republican senators voted nay. Four Republican senators and five Democratic senators did not vote.

Congresswoman Maxine  Waters (D-Calif.), who sponsored the resolution to block the rule in the U.S. House, said in a press release after the U.S. Senate vote, “Senate Republicans have given a green light to modern day redlining […] which will result in harm to low- and moderate-income communities across the nation.”

According to former Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting, the final rule improves Community Reinvestment Act regulations “by clarifying what qualifies for CRA consideration, updating how banks define their assessment areas, evaluating bank CRA performance more objectively, and making the entire process more transparent and timelier. The final rule’s framework will increase support to small business, small and family-owned farms, Indian Country, and distressed areas, and it accommodates banks of all sizes and business models.”

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used it to repeal 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time.

The OCC rule went into effect on October 1, 2020. 

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