Nussle at GAC: Capital’s Heated Conflicts Could Hamper Legislative Effort
The high-pitched partisan conflicts that have dominated Washington and the nation in recent months could spell trouble for the enactment of legislation to overhaul Dodd-Frank, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said Tuesday.
“Yes, it’s going to be difficult to get things done,” Nussle told CU Times in an interview Tuesday at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference.
In December, Nussle said that Congress was going to move quickly and regulatory reform needed to take center stage during the first months of the 115th Congress or be buried under the avalanche of appropriations measures and other legislative priorities.
But Trump and members of Congress already are occupied with a host of issues: Obamacare, budget matters, tax reform, confirmations.
The House can move quickly on legislation, such as an overhaul of Dodd-Frank, Nussle said, recalling the Contract with America legislation that moved in 1995 immediately after Republicans took control of the House. The Contract included a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s welfare programs, term limits for members of Congress and a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.
While the House was able to swiftly pass those measures, the Senate acted much slower and in some cases, rejected the House-passed legislation.
“The Senate doesn’t work that way, he said. “The Senate can only do one thing at a time.”
The bottom line is that it is now unclear when regulatory relief legislation will move.
“I don’t know when they’re going to take a bill,” Nussle said.
The legislative process is designed to be deliberate, he said, but added that things have been so gridlocked that many members have not experienced the legislative process first-hand.
Members of Congress—and the American people—are polarized, Nussle said.
“Compromise has become a somewhat negative term,” he said, adding that complex legislation requires private negotiations during which members can find common ground.
That is problematic in the days of social media, he said. “It’s difficult to have those [meetings] these days,” he added.
Nussle said he fears that Trump’s speech on Tuesday night will dominate the conversations, as credit union officials visit members of Congress this week.
Nussle and other CUNA officials have spent the week urging credit union officials to hone their “elevator pitches” to lawmakers and their staff. They’ve said that credit union officials needed to have quick, simple explanations about why changes are needed to the federal laws governing credit unions.