Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

An Endless Election. and Then What?

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

An Endless Election. and Then What?

Article excerpt

"IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

--Winston Churchill

The most unusual election in U.S. history may end up giving us the most unusual Congressional session in U.S. history.

The truth is, no one knows exactly how the 107th Congress will play out. One thing we know for sure: Republicans will hold one of the narrowest majorities in Congressional history. Their margin in the House will be under a dozen. In the Senate, the margin of leadership is practically nonexistent -- 50/50 with Vice-President Dick Cheney casting the tiebreaking vote.

The political transition itself consumes a great deal of Washington's time and energy. Any new Administration must fill some 1,000 department and agency jobs, many of which require background checks and Congressional confirmations. Where does all of this leave us as we prepare for a new Congressional session? The narrowly divided 107th will either take us down a centrist path in which moderation will guide the course of their work, or alternatively we will spend the next two years watching the two parties maneuver for political advantage for the next elections. But either way, ABA will be asking Congress to consider our list of legislative priorities as an excellent place to begin the process. At the very top of our list is bankruptcy reform. This top ABA goal is all the more important in light of troubling news that after a brief respite, bankruptcy filings are again accelerating. SMR Research Corp. of New Jersey, in fact, predicts that personal bankruptcy filings will grow this year by 10% to 20%.

This year ABA will also tackle the important issues of deposit insurance reform, privacy, rural banking, the Farm Credit System, and e-commerce. …

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