Midterm Election Changes Federal and State Legislative Landscape

A special message from Mary Martha Fortney, President and CEO,
November 29, 2010

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) predicted that this recent midterm election will shape the national political landscape for at least the next 10 years. That’s quite the statement, but the Nov. 2 did yield significant changes, especially for the Republican Party.

Republicans made large gains across federal and state levels in the midterm election. The U.S. House of Representatives will be Republican-controlled for the 112th Congress. The U.S. Senate remains Democratic; however, Republicans did gain six seats. Twenty-nine governors will be Republican, resulting from a gain of five GOP governors from winning gubernatorial candidates or states where the governor’s house changed party. The election also resulted in 28 new governors – the largest number of new governors ever. Among state legislatures, there are also an increased number of Republican chambers and 53 percent of the state legislative seats are now held by Republicans.

What do these changes mean for state regulators and credit unions? First, with the party change in the House, this means a new chairman for the House Financial Services (FS) Committee, likely Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will serve as the Minority Ranking Member. Also, the combination of a Republican majority and Democratic losses on Nov. 2 means that the House FS Committee will have new members, although the actual number of committee members is expected to decrease. The election was not as impactful on the Senate Banking Committee; however, with Sen. Chris Dodd’s retirement at the end of this year, it is expected Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) will become Chairman.

Both the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee are likely to address housing and government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) issues. “Tweaks” to the Dodd-Frank Act are also anticipated from both Houses.

NASCUS remains focused on achieving supplemental capital for credit unions for the 112th Congress. In addition to educating new and tenured legislators about the state credit union system, NASCUS will continue its legislative advocacy for capital reform.

As announcements are made regarding Committees and other issues for the 112th Congress, NASCUS will post updates to its Legislative Affairs page here at www.nascus.org.