‘Irma’ impedes House vote on NCUA budget oversight bill

A decision on whether the NCUA budget will be subject to the congressional appropriations process will have to wait at least one more day as the House has delayed votes to Tuesday evening, due to travel complications from the weekend hurricane in Florida.

Under a spending package approved in July by the House Appropriations Committee the annual budget of the federal credit union regulator (and other federal financial institution regulators, including the FDIC and OCC) would have to be approved each year by Congress. Now, the NCUA budget (which is mostly funded by a combination of annual fees imposed on federally chartered credit unions and earnings from the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, the federal insurer of savings in credit unions) is set and approved by vote of the NCUA Board of Directors. The board’s members are individually nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

However, two members of the House Appropriations Committee – Reps. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.)  — will offer an amendment to the spending package, the minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3354, the 2018 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act), when it arrives on the House floor. The Amodei-Aguilar amendment (strongly supported by the credit union industry) would remove Section 906 from the final bill. The Amodei-Aguilar amendment only strikes the portion of the bill affecting NCUA; the other banking regulators are not included.

Additionally, NCUA Board Chairman J. Mark McWatters has written to Appropriations Committee leaders, in an Aug. 9 letter, “to express the agency’s concerns” about subjecting the agency’s budget to congressional control, which McWatters asserted would “remove the NCUA Board’s authority to determine, with input from stakeholders, its annual operating budget.”

Meanwhile, action in the Senate could proceed this week as a subcommittee is expected to hold a markup on the Senate version of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for FY 2018.