Senate focused on budget, defense, patent reform

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Dec. 16, 2013 – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Friday that the Senate tomorrow will take up the bipartisan budget deal that passed in the House Thursday – and possibly defense authorization – and address patent-troll activities in a committee hearing.

NAFCU lobbyists note the Senate is also likely to vote on Janet Yellen to be the next Federal Reserve Board chair. She was nominated to succeed Ben Bernanke, who steps down at the end of January, and was approved by the Senate Banking Committee Nov. 22. She has acknowledged the need for regulatory relief for small institutions, including credit unions.

According to reports, the budget legislation might hit some snags in the Senate. Politico reported Friday that it wasn’t clear whether enough Republicans would vote with Democrats to break a GOP filibuster when the Senate takes Tuesday’s procedural vote. NAFCU will closely follow the budget debate in the Senate for any changes that may impact credit unions.

The Senate is expected to pass H.R. 3304, the vehicle for the National Defense Authorization Act that was cleared by the House Thursday by a vote of 350-69. This package includes no changes in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Military Lending Act. Credit unions serving any military servicemembers are subject to the SCRA and are potentially affected whenever Congress revisits the MLA.

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing, “Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse,” at 10 a.m. Eastern. The hearing is expected to address the NAFCU-backed H.R. 3309, the “Innovation Act,” on patent reform, which the House cleared Dec. 5. The measure would bring some relief to credit unions from baseless litigation associated with low-quality patents.

The House is out of session for the remainder of the year.

Related Links:
Defense credit union issues
Politico article
"CU rep testifies Tuesday on patent-troll abuses," 12/16
"Raskin nomination to Treasury out of committee," 12/16