2023 Advocacy Week Agenda
118th Session of Congress
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Investing in a Just Economy
Our 2023 Advocacy Week Agenda serves to prepare attendees of NCRC Advocacy Week to meet with their members of Congress during our Just Economy Conference. It is a call to action on four core issues, discussed in detail below: strengthen and expand the Community Reinvestment Act; protect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; strengthen Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank (ECOA) and provide full and equitable funding for community investments (including housing). NCRC’s full Policy Agenda for the 118h Congress can be viewed online at ncrc.org.
For over 30 years, NCRC has worked to create a just economy. We believe capital of various forms must be engaged in building an equitable and fair economy. There is a legal obligation for banks and other financial institutions to invest in and lend in low-and moderate-income communities. There is also a moral obligation to address the racial wealth divide and the overall concentration of wealth in society.
Our nation continues to face ongoing social and political crises, including racial injustice and economic insecurity as well as environmental crises with public health and climate change. This moment is not the first time we have grappled with these issues, but their confluence during a time of pitched concern over what it means to participate in a just economy has sparked a critical push to invigorate oversight of corporate practices and to direct federal spending where it is most needed. Yet much remains to be done. This Congress should take action to strengthen the laws that will advance a just economy – and to invest adequate resources in our communities.
We believe the following principles should guide our policymakers:
Invest Equitably: Invigorate and institutionalize commitment to fair housing and fair lending, as well as to affirmative measures to promote economic inclusion and remedy the racial wealth divide.
Invest Local: Strengthen credit and capital access for community development in local communities, including those that have been underserved.
Invest Forward: Ensuring advances in technology and industry do not inhibit needed progress in financial stability, housing and homeownership, and that all communities share the benefits of innovation. Further, emerging investments in infrastructure and climate response must be harnessed to respond to the needs of those communities who are at the frontlines of environmental and climate harm and where an injection of those resources is most due.
Invest in Community: Strengthen investment in the infrastructures of housing, community economic development and small business.
We urge the 118th Congress to take action to create vibrant communities, make our financial markets fairer and more transparent, and recommit to an expansive view of economic opportunity. Our grassroots coalition of housing practitioners, housing counselors, community developers and consumer advocates stand ready to do the hard work necessary to move this agenda forward. We are committed to staying the course until this work is realized in every community across the country.
Jesse Van Tol
Chief Executive Officer
NCRC 2023 Advocacy Week Ask Summary:
We Ask Congress To:
- Reintroduce the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act (Senate & House)
- Reintroduce the Making Communities Stronger through the Community Reinvestment Act (House)
- Oppose the Taking Account of Bureaucrats’ Spending (TABS) Act
- Defend Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank
- Increase funding for housing, community development, civil rights enforcement, and housing counseling
- Schedule an in-district follow up meeting with attendees after Advocacy Week
NCRC 2023 Advocacy Week Asks:
American Housing and Economic Mobility Act
In 2019, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act. Section 203 of the bill called for reforms that would strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act. NCRC supports the reintroduction of this bill. In addition to updating CRA as applied to banks, the bill would extend CRA to mortgage companies and required an evaluation of their retail lending, community development lending and investments and community development services.
The bill also includes significant investments in housing resources. This includes a $445 billion investment over 10 years in the Housing Trust Fund, which would provide up to 2.17. million homes for low-income families; and several billion dollars for a variety of other housing supports. It would work to reduce the racial wealth divide by targeted investments in down payment assistance.
Making Communities Stronger through Community Reinvestment Act
NCRC supports the Making Communities Stronger through the Community Reinvestment Act, introduced by then-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters in September of 2022. That bill would direct regulators to cut points from CRA scores when there is evidence of discriminatory conduct, including business practices that displace and otherwise harm LMI communities; provide for credit for small-dollar mortgages; require new biannual interagency studies of racial discrimination and disparities in access to credit to better enable the regulators to respond to ongoing inequities; and extend coverage to loans originated in partnership with non-depository institutions.
Oppose the TABS Act
NCRC opposes the reintroduction of the Taking Account of Bureaucrats’ Spending (TABS) Act, introduced in the 117th Congress by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY). If enacted, the TABS Act would strip the CFPB of its independence from the Congressional appropriations process. Congress understood that if the CFPB was vulnerable to the annual vicissitudes of budget negotiations, financial markets would be in chaos, and the interests of lobbyists would take precedence over the needs of consumers.
Under Dodd-Frank, Congress stipulated that the CFPB would receive its funding directly from the Federal Reserve, which is itself funded outside of Congressional appropriation. However, the TABS Act ignores the fact that none of the prudential regulators rely on the appropriations process for their funding. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency funds its work through assessments charged to its banks. Insured banks and thrifts pay premiums to cover the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Deposit Insurance Fund.
The CFPB has detractors because it has been a success. In the last ten years, the CFPB returned more than $13 billion in relief for consumers and ordered more than $1.8 billion in civil penalties on financial institutions during its first ten years. To continue on its impressive record, the CFPB’s funding must remain independent of Congressional politics.
Defend Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank
Oppose bills that would weaken Section 1071 small business loan disclosures. NCRC would oppose bills that would reduce the number of lending institutions that would report 1071 data, or bills that would limit the collection of data relating to an applicant’s race or ethnicity. NCRC would also oppose limiting access to the proposed Section 1071 public sector database, which would function similarly to the database for HMDA data and would not pose a privacy risk, despite claims by 1071 opponents.
Appropriations: Increase Funding for Housing, Community Development, Civil Rights Enforcement, and Housing Counseling
Provide high, much-needed levels of funding for community investments such as housing (affordable rental housing and expanded homeownership opportunities), equitable infrastructure (which offers important economic benefits, including fair participation in the green economy), and small business support, as well as counseling and civil rights enforcement resources.
For specific programmatic asks with proposed appropriation levels, please see NCRC’s FY2024 budget chart which can be found here.
 American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019, S 1368, 116th Cong. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1368.
 Making Communities Stronger through the Community Reinvestment Act, H.R.8833,117th Cong. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/8833?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22H.R.8833%22%5D%7D&s=2&r=1
 At Hearing, Warren Calls out Fifth Circuit’s Dangerous Ruling Against the CFPB, Which Jeopardizes Major Financial Regulators and Stability of Financial System | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, (2022). https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/at-hearing-warren-calls-out-fifth-circuits-dangerous-ruling-against-the-cfpb-which-jeopardizes-major-financial-regulators-and-stability-of-financial-system
 Enforcement by the Numbers. (2022, July). https://www.consumerfinance.gov/enforcement/enforcement-by-the-numbers/