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Entries in Legislation (167)


ICYMI: WSJ on Rep. Frank Guinta's Bipartisan Plan to Stop the CFPB's War on Car Dealers 


The House of Representatives will vote today on Congressman Frank Guinta’sCFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, H.R. 1737. The New Hampshire congressman’s bipartisan legislation would “instruct the bureau to allow public comment and to publish its data and analysis online before issuing new rules on auto financing,” which threaten the ability of car dealers to offer low rates to qualified car buyers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Guinta introduced his bill earlier this year to help consumers save millions of dollars annually, he says.“My bill would rein in overzealous CFPB bureaucrats, who in an effort to police car purchases, are costing Granite Staters good deals.”166 cosponsors, including 65 Democrats, have signed on. More below from today’s Journal.




Nov. 18, 2015

NOTE:  The House of Representatives is scheduled later today to consider H.R. 1737, the bipartisan bill mentioned in this editorial.


On Wednesday the House is expected to vote down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s extralegal campaign against the nation’s auto dealers. This is an important moment. Even Democrats are beginning to push back against the regulatory agenda crafted by President Obama and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Let’s hope the dissident donkeys survive the experience.

The consumer bureau has been forcing settlements on banks that provide financing via car dealers by claiming the dealers are discriminating with higher rates against minority borrowers. The bureau’s standard procedure is not to offer evidence of bias. Instead, the regulators guess the ethnicity of borrowers based on their last names and where they live, and then demand cash payments if the people they guess are black or hispanic seem to be paying higher rates than the people they guess are white. Every time we write about this policy we have to remind ourselves we work for the Journal and not the Onion.

The bureau no doubt enjoyed the headlines when it persuaded Ally Bank to fork over $80 million in damages (and $18 million in penalties) in December 2013. But once Ally put the $80 million for consumers into escrow in January 2014, this created something of a challenge for the bureau. Up to that point the regulators hadn’t had to present actual victims. What if many of the borrowers who had allegedly suffered were white? What if an honest accounting proved no one had been victimized?

Now, almost two years after Ally provided the money, it’s not clear that the alleged victims—if they exist—have been made whole. When we asked the bureau on Tuesday whether all the checks had gone out, a spokesman referred us to a message on the website of the settlement administrator. It helpfully tells borrowers: “Please be patient. It may take several months to receive and review any forms received. We anticipate payments to be issued later this year or early next year.”

According to the Journal, the government has been sending out letters lately to borrowers it is pretty sure are minorities, informing them of their good fortune but also asking them to write back if they aren’t minorities. We’re not sure the honor system will work here. But if lots of white people do turn down the windfall, all that will prove is that the discrimination claims were bogus in the first place.

At the heart of the bureau’s outrageous regulatory campaign is its March 2013 “bulletin” that effectively codified its policy against dealer discretion in setting interest rates. This Beltway diktat never went through the normal rule-making process.

But on Wednesday a bipartisan bill with 65 Democratic co-sponsors will come to the House floor. The measure would knock down this informal guidance and instruct the bureau to allow public comment and to publish its data and analysis online before issuing new rules on auto financing.

It would also require the bureau to study the costs of such a rule on various affected parties. Imagine that. As for the regulators, they’ve done enough imagining about this market. Let’s hope next time they just stick to the facts.









WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Frank Guinta’s legislation to protect car buyers from higher loan rates received significant bipartisan support in the House of Representatives today.“I’m happy that both Democrats and Republicans have rallied around my bill, which would help qualified car buyers to purchase vehicles,” he said, announcing passage of hisCFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, H.R. 1737.


    More than 160 House members, including 65 Democrats, cosponsored his legislation, requiring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to rescind its plan to regulate the auto-financing market, a maneuver that 2010’s Dodd-Frank financial reform prohibits.“Middle-class families need today’s bill to lower expenses. Granite Staters traveling to work or looking for new jobs are depending on affordable transportation,” said Rep. Guinta, Manchester’s former mayor and a current member of the House Financial Services Committee.


   “If the CFPB truly cares about policies in the best interests of consumers, the agency should reissue guidance that is clear, fair and respects due process,” said the Congressman, who explained the CFPB’s action could result in a higher flat rate for most car buyers. “My bill would open the CFPB’s data to neutral experts and the public, solicit comments according to normal procedure, and require more economic study of the CFPB’s rush to regulate an important economic sector.”


        A number of consumer and industry groups support the New Hampshire congressman’s solution, which he introduced earlier in 2015, saying it would save Americans millions of dollars annually. The U.S. Consumer Coalition, National Automobile Dealers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Motorcycle Industry Council, American Financial Services Association and others have announced support. “I meet frequently with Granite State car dealers and buyers, as well as community lenders, who tell me the CFPB will ruin their businesses and budgets,” said Rep. Guinta (NH01).


    He explained the CFPB’s guidance would harm many whom the agency claims to represent.“Minority dealers and buyers will bear the brunt of new federal regulations, which is why Members representing diverse constituents voted for my bill." H.R. 1737 passed the House by a vote of 332-96, including 88 Democrats voting in favor.






WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Frank Guinta today introduced theVeterans Health and Accountability Act to enforce and expand reforms Congress made to the Veterans Administration,  after whistleblowers at the federal agency exposed secret patient waiting lists, where veterans died while waiting months or years for care.  CNN reported that over 300,000 died before receiving approval for care.

     Rep. Guinta (NH01) said his bill is the result of frequent meetings with New Hampshire veterans groups, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Concerned Veterans for America. "The Granite State has the eighth largest vet population in the U.S. but no full-service VA facility or military hospital," hesaid, urging constituents to submit their concerns to his“We the People” Initiative.

     He explained that his bill would remove distance and time restrictions from the Veterans Choice program, which Congress created to alleviate long wait times. Under the law, veterans living more than 40 miles from a VA center or waiting more than a month for an appointment may seek private care outside the government-run system. 

   "The closest VA facility to New Hampshire is in Vermont. Even then, the bureaucracy can be impenetrable for sick vets with no time to lose," said Rep. Guinta. "We're giving them their time back, and hopefully in many cases, their lives back. Our country should honor its commitment to the men and women who have kept us safe. We should ensure they receive the care our country promised them."

Vet group discusses VA problems with Rep. Guinta (left) in D.C.


    Rep. Guinta’sVeterans Health and Accountability Act also requires the VA Secretary to annually report to Congress progress towards reform. The bill protects whistleblowers who expose negligence and mismanagement from retaliation. Awhistleblower in Phoenix revealed that VA employees there hid languishing patients from official records in order to collect rewards for timely service. 

    Another in Atlanta revealed that administrators purposefully allowed benefit applications to expire.“Without whistleblower protection, we may never have discovered the tragedy at the VA,” said Rep. Guinta.  “It’s vitally important these honest Americans follow their consciences without fear of reprisal.”

    In 2013, Congress passed theVeterans Access to Care Act to provide alternatives to the VA’s single-payer healthcare system, as well as to deny bonuses, raises, promotions or employment to Veterans Administration workers guilty of malfeasance. However, theObama Administration has threatened to defund the Veterans Choice program. Many offenders have yet to receive punishment andremain on the job. 

    "Constituents visited me in Washington as recently as last week to describe rot at the VA and to ask for my help. My bill increases pressure on the agency and the Obama Administration to enact reforms that are now law. It expands other reforms to finally break the bureaucratic logjam,"said Rep Guinta. "If VA bureaucrats thought they could escape scrutiny once the nationwide scandal died down, they were wrong.” 

   Rep. Guinta is Manchester's former two-term mayor and a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He has cosponsored bills to help veterans find affordable housing and protected the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from shutdown last year.





US Senator Kelly Ayotte - My Efforts to Fight the Opioid Abuse Epidemic 

Kelly Ayotte | Senator for New Hampshire

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share with you an update on my efforts to combat the heroin and prescription opioid abuse crisis facing New Hampshire and our nation.

This is the most urgent public health and safety challenge our state is facing, and I've been listening to families, treatment providers, first responders, and others in the community as we work to identify effective strategies to combat this epidemic.

As New Hampshire's former Attorney General, I have seen firsthand the negative consequences of illicit drug use and drug-related crimes, and I am working to ensure that law enforcement officials have the necessary tools to do their jobs and respond to this problem. While law enforcement is working tirelessly to get drugs off the streets, we can't arrest our way out of this problem. We need more prevention efforts, more treatment options, and more support for individuals in recovery.

In the Senate, I have been leading several legislative solutions, in addition to bringing together health care professionals, law enforcement and first responders, and members of the treatment and recovery communities at forums around the state to share experiences and feedback. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I recently chaired a field hearing with Senator Shaheen which focused on this issue. I invited the Director of National Drug Control Policy and other top federal officials to New Hampshire to participate, and they heard directly from law enforcement, a grieving father of a fatal overdose victim, and a treatment provider about what they're experiencing in our communities.

This input has helped guide my approach to fighting this crisis on all fronts.  Working with a diverse coalition of senators, I have introduced and cosponsored several pieces of bipartisan legislation to bolster prevention efforts, provide more treatment options, and support individuals in recovery. Following are some of my legislative priorities:

•I helped reintroduce the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) to provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies to combat substance use disorders and support individuals in recovery.  Specifically, S. 524 would expand prevention and educational efforts - particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations - to prevent the abuse of prescription opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.  The bill would also increase resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from substance use disorders by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.

•Working with Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), I introduced the bipartisan Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention, Education, and Enforcement Act (S. 1134), which aims to stop the abuse of prescription pain medication while also giving law enforcement the tools and resources they need to prevent heroin use and addiction.  Specifically, the bill would create an Inter-Agency Task Force responsible for developing best practices in pain medication prescribing and related pain management.  The bill would also reauthorize the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program to help law enforcement combat heroin.  Our bill would also authorize funding for the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, a competitive grant program that assists states in the planning, implementation, and enhancement of their Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

•A tragic result of the growing opioid abuse epidemic that has too often been overlooked is the increasing number of infants born dependent on opioids or suffering withdrawal.  That is why I cosponsored the bipartisan Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 (S. 799), which would call for the development of recommendations to prevent and treat prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).  The bill would also call on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist states in data collection and increased surveillance to better monitor the prevalence and causes of NAS.  I'm pleased to report that S. 799 passed the Senate on October 22, 2015.

•Recognizing the increasing role that fentanyl is playing in fatal overdoses, I introduced the Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act (S. 2027) to reform trafficking penalties for fentanyl, ensuring that the law appropriately reflects the potency of this drug and its increasing prevalence in drug overdose deaths.  The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that fentanyl is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.  Yet the threshold amount to invoke penalties in fentanyl trafficking is not appropriately reflected under current law.  The Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act would simply bring parity to the penalties for trafficking in heroin and the much more potent fentanyl, which will improve efforts to remove it from the streets and appropriately prosecute those individuals and organizations who are profiting from selling it.

•I worked successfully to include an amendment in the fiscal year (FY) 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 113-291) that devotes additional resources to the detection, monitoring, and interdiction of illicit trafficking across our Southern Border.  Additionally, I successfully included an amendment to the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that will better enable the United States to counter drug tunnels under the southwest border. 

•During consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), I worked with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to include two bipartisan measures to better assist students dealing with substance abuse issues at home.  Both would encourage local decision-makers to provide professional development, training, and technical assistance to schools in communities affected by addiction crises.

•I am cosponsoring the bipartisan Second Chance Act Reauthorization Act (S. 1513) to support reentry programs, like substance abuse treatment programs, that can reduce recidivism rates.

•I worked across the aisle with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) to help reintroduce the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act of 2015 (S. 707), which would provide liability protections to properly trained individuals who administer an opioid overdose reversal drug, such as naloxone, in an emergency situation when someone has overdosed.

•In order to make sure those who are struggling with addiction are able to access treatment, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and I led a bipartisan group of senators in calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor to take immediate, overdue action to fully implement and enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).  In the letter, we emphasized that implementation of MHPAEA - signed into law more than seven years ago to ensure that health insurance plans cover behavioral and physical health equally - has been incomplete and inconsistent. In response to concerns from New Hampshire residents, I am also urging the five major U.S. health insurers and the U.S. Government Accountability Office to ensure the MHPAEA is properly implemented and enforced.

I'll continue my work to advance these legislative initiatives and look for ways to collaborate with and strengthen state and local efforts to combat this growing epidemic. Together, we can find effective solutions that will help save lives, strengthen families, and improve our communities.

Kelly Ayotte Photo



Kelly Ayotte
United States Senator


US Department of Homeland Security grants NH extension 

Enhanced ID Bill Sponsor Welcomes Extension by the US Department of Homeland Security


CONCORD -On Friday October 9th, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified state officials that  as a result of ongoing legislative efforts to bring the state into compliance with federal REAL ID standards, New Hampshire had been granted an extension through June 1, 2016. During the extension period federal agencies, including the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), will continue to accept New Hampshire issued identification cards and driver's licenses for official purposes.


The extension comes as a result of efforts lead by New Hampshire House Speaker Pro Tempore Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) who recently filed a bill that would bring New Hampshire into compliance. The legislation will come before the House in January.


“I’m grateful for DHS’s flexibility as the legislature works to get this enhanced ID bill processed as quickly as we can. Our goal is to have a bill passed,  and a process in place,  well before the June 1st deadline,” said Packard. “I’m also grateful that our early action on this issue has demonstrated to DHS our willingness to work toward a solution, avoiding unnecessary difficulty for our citizens.”


Packard continued, “With successful passage of the enhanced ID bill, our understanding is that we will then have a five year transition window during which time our current IDs will remain an acceptable form of identification for official purposes through 2020. This phased-in approach will ensure that no one has to rush out to renew their license. And if people choose not to get one, they will have that option, with the understanding that it may not be accepted in all places, or for travel purposes.”

Rep. Packard’s proposed legislation is in the final drafting stages and will be available for review in the coming weeks.