Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Winter 2016 - Page 18

WASHINGTON UPDATE By Maureen Thompson NACBA Legislative Director T his is the latest issue of our weekly update from Washington, designed to keep NACBA members informed about significant and relevant activity on the part of Congress, regulatory agencies and interest groups/think tanks.  Feedback should be di rected to  Maureen Thompson. Sherman (D-CA)– a member of the House Financial Services Committee – introduced legislation that will give Wells Fargo customers who were victims of a fraudulent account scheme their day in court. Wells Fargo is using the forced arbitration clauses it tucked away in the fine print of contracts customers signed when they opened legitimate accounts to block them from Obviously, the big news out of suing over the fraudulent accounts.  Washington is the election results.  Read more about the bill here. NACBA members who joined us for the November 18 webinar, “The 2016 Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), chairman of Election: What Now?”  heard NACBA the Senate Budget Committee reacted leaders and our representatives in to a General Accountability Office Washington answer the questions (GAO) report on the cost of Department about what to expect in 2017 from of Education’s Income Driven the Administration, Congress and the Repayment (IDR) plans for student courts.  We are planning to issue a loans (see “In the Agencies) by harshly special repot next week after President- criticizing the Department, which is Elect Trump announces his full roster responsible for calculating the cost of cabinet picks.  We will focus not of the program.  “This Administration only on what to expect from the White has been manipulating the terms of House come January, but also the the student loan program without the key agencies of interest to NACBA: consent of Congress, while shirking its Department of Justice, Consumer statutory duty to carefully assess the Financial Protection Bureau, and the cost impact of those changes,” Enzi Department of Education, as well as said in a statement. “It will be crucial to the leadership and key committees in consider updates to the Federal Credit Congress. Reform Act because Congress is not receiving credible, transparent cost Continue reading for non-election news data under the existing statute, as this out of Washington this week. report suggests.” ON THE HILL Congress remains focused on Wells Fargo.   Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee – and Representative Brad 18 CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY JOURNAL A group of 21 current and former members of Congress filed an amicus brief in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) petition filed with the D.C. Circuit Winter 2016 seeking a rehearing of its decision in CFPB v PHH Corporation.  Read the brief here. IN THE AGENCIES  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the Department of Education’s approach to estimating the cost of income-based student loan repayment plans, which allow borrowers to make student loan payments based on how much they make.  According to the GAO report, these plans will cost more than twice as much as the Education Department expected them to.  The Education Department’s approach to estimating the costs of the repayment plan “do not ensure reliable budget estimates,” the GAO report says. The Education Department responded to the GAO report, saying it “generally concurs” with the findings, but noted that “the decisions made (and critiqued in this report) were based on existing staff and systems resources available, assessed impact, and consideration for conservatism.”  “The lifecycle of a student loan is exceedingly complex, with a multitude of projection paths and outcomes,” the department’s response said. “Estimating the federal cost of student loans is a task we take very seriously, and we are constantly seeking to enhance and refine our cost estimation models.” On November 18, the CFPB petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys