Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutionsby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2014-01-14
McCONNELL (for himself and Mr. Paul):
S. 1916. A bill to amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and
Consumer Protection Act to provide for an application process for
interested parties to apply for a county to be designated as a rural
area, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I have spoken often on the floor about the challenges and opportunities for the future that the people of eastern Kentucky and rural parts of the Commonwealth face. Many of these challenges stem from this administration's regulatory overreach, whether it is a war on coal, ObamaCare or Dodd-Frank. Too many people are out of work, which has placed a drastic burden on the coal mining industry, and harshly cut the number of jobs available in the coal mining industry and related industries.
In spite of the challenges the people of eastern Kentucky face, I have great confidence we can overcome that and succeed. I was pleased to be able to assist the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation in receiving a Promise Zone designation, which was awarded just last week. That is why I wrote the administration in support of this designation last year. This economic initiative is just one way to help jump-start the region's journey out of economic distress.
But we need more than that. My friend and colleague in the other Chamber, Representative Hal Rogers, is leading an effort to identify ways to lift Appalachia out of the cycle of poverty and unemployment through the SOAR Initiative, and I applaud his efforts.
To offer yet another possibility for eastern Kentucky, my friend and colleague Senator Rand Paul and I introduced the Economic Freedom Zones Act, to further enable eastern Kentucky to lift the burdens of some of the poorest families in the country. Our legislation would roll back government regulations and tax barriers to spur job creation and reform failed educational systems to aid disadvantaged children.
So continuing my efforts to find ways to assist these rural counties and give these communities a voice, I am pleased to introduce today, along with Senator Paul, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act or simply the HELP Rural [[Page S327]] Communities Act. My friend and colleague in the House, Representative Andy Barr, introduced this legislation in that body, and I applaud his efforts to see it passed.
The HELP Rural Communities Act would give rural counties in Kentucky a voice when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has incorrectly labeled them as ``nonrural''--just another example of this administration's one-size-fits-all, we-know-best approach to governing. Several counties in Kentucky, such as Bath County, have been labeled as ``nonrural'' and are therefore barred from certain rural lending practices helpful to farmers and small businesses.
If you have ever been to these counties, as I have, you would most certainly disagree with the CFPB's ruling. But current law provides literally no opportunity to challenge the CFPB's decision. My bill would allow counties which have been improperly designated as ``nonrural'' to petition the CFPB with additional local information to reconsider their status in order to ensure that rural communities, such as those in eastern Kentucky, have the access to credit they need to grow their economy.
This is an important step in the effort to renew hope for the future in rural Kentucky, especially eastern Kentucky. Given the bipartisan interest shown in recent weeks to get government out of the way and let the people of the region work, Congress and the President can come together to pass this legislation on behalf of eastern Kentuckians and rural communities. I look forward to working with my colleagues, Senator Paul and Representative Barr, to see that we get this passed.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 1916 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act of 2014'' or the ``HELP Rural Communities Act of 2014''.
SEC. 2. DESIGNATION OF COUNTY AS A RURAL AREA.
Section 1022 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (12 U.S.C. 5512) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: ``(e) Designation of County as a Rural Area.-- ``(1) Application.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Bureau shall establish an application process under which a person who lives or does business in a State may, with respect to a county in such State that has not been designated by the Bureau as a rural area for purposes of a Federal consumer financial law, apply for such county to be so designated.
``(2) Evaluation criteria.--When evaluating an application submitted under paragraph (1), the Bureau shall take into consideration the following factors: ``(A) Criteria used by the Director of the Bureau of the Census for classifying geographical areas as rural or urban.
``(B) Criteria used by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to designate counties as metropolitan or micropolitan or neither.
``(C) Criteria used by the Secretary of Agriculture to determine property eligibility for rural development programs.
``(D) The Department of Agriculture rural-urban commuting area codes.
``(E) A written opinion provided by the State's banking regulator.
``(F) Population density.
``(3) Public comment period.-- ``(A) In general.--Not later than 60 days after receiving an application submitted under paragraph (1), the Bureau shall-- ``(i) publish such application in the Federal Register; and ``(ii) make such application available for public comment for not fewer than 90 days.
``(B) Limitation on additional applications.--Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the Bureau, during the public comment period with respect to an application submitted under paragraph (1), to accept an additional application with respect to the county that is the subject of the initial application.
``(4) Information required to be published.--The Bureau shall enter each application submitted under paragraph (1) in a sortable, downloadable database that is publicly accessible through the Web site of the Bureau.
``(5) Decision on designation.--Not later than 90 days after the end of the public comment period under paragraph (3)(A) for an application, the Bureau shall-- ``(A) grant or deny such application; and ``(B) publish such grant or denial in the Federal Register, along with an explanation of what factors the Bureau relied on in making such determination.
``(6) Subsequent applications.--A decision by the Bureau under paragraph (5) to deny an application for a county to be designated as a rural area shall not preclude the Bureau from accepting a subsequent application submitted under paragraph (1) for such county to be so designated, so long as such subsequent application is made after the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date that the Bureau denies the application under paragraph (5).''.
______ By Mr. HOEVEN (for himself, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Manchin, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Johanns, Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Hatch, Mr. King, Mr. Bennet, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Begich, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Coons, Mr. Portman, Mr. Franken, and Mr. Thune): S. 1925. A bill to limit the retrieval of data from vehicle event data recorders; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.