Congress at Work: Dodd-Frank Rollback, Security Clearance Assistance, and Childhood Cancer Survivorship, and More
The Congress at Work series of articles is designed to give you a glimpse of various types of legislation currently under consideration. While either the Senate or the House of Representatives may initiate a bill proposal, be aware that many bills never become law. Bills may never make it out of committee, be blocked by a Senate filibuster, be delayed, lack sufficient votes, never be agreed upon by the two houses, or be vetoed by the president.
Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) – Sponsored by Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) in November 2017, this bill rolls back some of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The original bill was designed to tighten regulations on financial institutions following the Great Recession of 2008-2009. This bill contains several provisions, including the following:
- Exempts banks with between $50 billion and $250 billion in assets from some of the restrictions regulated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
- Exempts banks with less than $10 billion in assets from some rules entirely, such as the Volcker Rule that bans banks from making certain speculative trades.
- Requires the Federal Reserve to take the size of banks into account when crafting regulations, rather than issuing one-size-fits-all regulations.
The bill was signed into law by the president on May 23.
SECRET Act of 2018 (H.R. 3210) – Introduced by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) in July 2017, this bill requires the Director of the National Background Investigations Bureau to submit a report on the backlog of personnel security clearance investigations. The report must detail how many investigations are backlogged and the average length of time it would take to conduct initial and periodic investigations. This report also must state what the process is for conducting investigations and making security clearance judgments for personnel of the Executive Office of the President. In addition, the report should estimate how much it would cost to provide duplicate resources to carry out investigations. The bill was signed into law by the president on May 22.
Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017 (S. 447) – Sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), this bill authorizes the State Department to report on the progress of European nations returning or paying restitution for stolen property or assets from Holocaust victims in the 1930s and 1940s. The purpose of the bill is to encourage the return of lost money, assets and property taken by Hitler and the Nazis through public accountability. The bill was introduced in February 2017 and signed into law by the president on May 9.
Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017 (S. 204) – This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to allow a terminally ill patient—who has exhausted approved treatment options and is unable to participate in a clinical trial—to use unapproved, experimental drugs and medical products. The manufacturers or sponsors of such products that have been issued as a result of this legislation must submit an annual report detailing this type of usage to the Food and Drug Administration. In turn, the FDA will post a summary report on its website. This legislation was introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in January 2017. It has passed in both houses of Congress and is awaiting signature by the president.
Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act of 2017 (S. 292) – This new legislation amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize the National Institutes of Health to provide support for compiling medical specimens and information on children, adolescents, and young adults with specific cancers that have the least effective treatments. Grants will be awarded to state cancer registries to improve tracking of childhood cancers and support pilot programs to develop or study models for monitoring and caring for childhood cancer survivors, among other provisions. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) in February 2017, passed in Congress on May 22 and is currently with the president.