December 21, 2007


Washington, D.C. – Nearing the end of his first year as Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., highlighted the bipartisan accomplishments of the Committee this year and commended Committee members for producing an extensive list of legislative achievements that strengthen security, expand opportunity, and increase prosperity for all Americans. Highlights of the Senate Banking Committee’s legislative accomplishments during the 110th Congress include measures which: • Help American homeowners and investors weather the foreclosure crisis and the subprime mortgage turmoil (Federal Housing Administration Modernization Act of 2007); • Enable businesses and their employees to insure against the risk of terrorism (Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007); • Make our nation’s transit systems and ports safer and more secure against future terrorist threats (Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007); • Require stronger action by the U.S. against countries that engage in currency manipulation which harms American companies and workers (Currency Reform and Financial Markets Access Act of 2007); • Promote higher education access and affordability by targeting harmful student lending practices (Private Student Loan Transparency and Improvement Act); • Combat ongoing genocide in Sudan (Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007); “Over the course of this year, the Senate Banking Committee has made significant progress to make America more safe, strong, and secure for all our citizens. That fact is certainly demonstrated by the Committee’s work to extend terrorism insurance, reform foreign investment rules, expand safe and affordable mortgages to more families, improve transit security, and strengthen our ability to contain rogue nations like Iran and Sudan,” said Dodd. “I commend Senator Shelby and my other colleagues on the Committee for their bipartisan contributions to the work of the Committee.” Among the issues to be focused on by the Banking Committee next year will be legislation to address affordable housing and predatory lending, the regulation and supervision of industrial loan companies (ILCs), and currency manipulation, in addition to the continued oversight of the federal financial regulatory agencies and efforts to promote the competitiveness of the American economy. The following is a summary of legislation approved in 2007 by the Senate Banking Committee, including legislation which has, or is expected to, become Public Law. SECURITY  The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIA) (S. 2285/H.R. 2761): TRIA provides a federal backstop against catastrophic losses in the property and casualty insurance marketplace associated with massive terrorism damages. The bill extends the program for seven years through December 31, 2014. The legislation passed the Senate Banking Committee on October 17, passed the Senate unanimously on November 16, and was passed by the House on December 19. The Administration has said the President will sign it into law.  Transit Security (Title XIV of H.R.1) (P.L. 110-53): The Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 provides additional resources -- $3.5 billion over four years -- directly to public transit systems to improve protection against terrorist attacks and mitigate the damage from any attack. Chairman Dodd and the Banking Committee successfully included this legislation as part of H.R.1, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, which was signed into law on August 3rd.  The Foreign Investment and National Security Act (CFIUS) (P.L. 110-49): This legislation helps implement reforms to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) by increasing accountability and transparency for foreign investors and by creating a role for the intelligence community in national security decision-making. Working with Senator Shelby and members of the House of Representatives, Chairman Dodd’s bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and was signed into law on July 26th.  The International Emergency Economic Powers Enhancement Act (IEEPA) (P.L. 110-96): This bill increases penalties on companies that violate U.S. sanctions law by doing business with terrorists and rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea. Under the bill, individuals that have invested in a country or terrorist organization designated by the President as a major threat to the United States could be severely fined. The legislation passed out of Committee on May 16th, passed the Senate on June 26th, and was signed into law on October16th.  Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (S. 2271): The Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, which Chairman Dodd authored with Senator Shelby, seeks to combat genocide in Darfur by focusing on the role of divestment with Senator Shelby. This legislation provides a legal framework by which state and local governments and other institutions can divest Sudan-related investments from their portfolios. The bill passed Committee on October 17th, and, following Senate approval, passed the House by a vote of 411-0. The bill is expected to be signed into law. OPPORTUNITY AND PROSPERITY  The Federal Housing Administration Modernization Act of 2007 (S. 2338): The FHA Modernization Act of 2007 seeks to help American families that have been hit hard by the current crisis in the mortgage markets. Following Committee approval on September 18th, the Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly by a vote of 93-1 on December 14.  The Private Student Loan Transparency and Improvement Act: The legislation seeks to promote higher education availability and affordability by implementing needed reforms to the private student loan industry – the fastest-growing segment of the $85 billion student loan market. Specifically, the bill requires lenders to provide more accurate and timely information to customers about the terms and conditions of their student loans, allows students time to “shop” for the most competitive and affordable student loans, and seeks to address possible discriminatory loan underwriting practices. The legislation was approved unanimously by the Committee on August 1.  The Currency Reform and Financial Markets Access Act of 2007 (S. 1677): The legislation would address currency manipulation by China and other nations that harm American jobs. The bill would create tough, new authority for both the Treasury Department and the Congress to act to provide a level playing field for U.S. businesses and workers, and tighten the definition of currency manipulation to provide for greater clarity and to prevent ambiguity or delay in addressing the problem. The measure was approved unanimously by the Senate Banking Committee on August 1.  The Native American Home Ownership Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-37): The Native American Home Ownership Opportunity Act of 2007, a bill to reauthorize the Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund through Fiscal Year 2012, passed the Senate Banking Committee in May, and was signed into law on June 18, 2007. The Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program, established in 1992 to address the lack of mortgage lending in Indian Country, has assisted over 4300 Native American families in becoming homeowners, and this bill extends the program for an additional five years.  The Preservation Approval Process Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-35): In May of this year, the Committee passed H.R. 1675, the Preservation Approval Process Improvement Act of 2007, which then passed the Senate by unanimous consent on May 25, and was signed into law in June. The bill eliminates unnecessary burdens and disincentives for HUD program participants. Other Significant Bills Approved by the Committee • 10/17: S. 2284: An original bill entitled “The Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act” • 8/1: An original bill entitled the “The Commission on Natural Catastrophe Risk Management and Insurance Act of 2007” • 8/1: An original bill entitled “The Housing Assistance Authorization Act of 2007” • 5/16: An original bill to make technical corrections to Title III of SAFETEA-LU • 9/19: H.R. 835, the "Hawaiian Homeownership Opportunity Act of 2007" • 9/19: S. 1518, the "Community Partnership to End Homelessness Act of 2007" • 5/16: S. 254, a bill to award posthumously a Congressional gold medal to Constantino Brumidi In addition, the Committee held 35 hearings, including 21 Full Committee hearings and 14 hearings in its subcommittees. For more information on Senate Banking Committee activity, please visit