Relaxing Small Business Accountability and Supporting Veteran Homelessness and Substance Abuse Disorders

A joint resolution providing for Congressional disapproval under Chapter 8 of Title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to Small Business Lending Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (SJ Res 32) – This resolution was introduced on June 13 by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). It nullifies a rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that requires financial institutions to collect and report credit application data for small businesses to the CFPB. The bill passed in the House and the Senate on Dec. 1, but President Biden has threatened to veto the resolution because he believes it would reduce transparency and accountability in small business lending.

Caregiver Outreach and Program Enhancement (COPE) Act (HR 3581) – This bill supports various Veterans Administration initiatives: 1. Authorizes funding for the implementation, coordination and enhancement of mental health counseling and treatment for participants (family caregivers of veterans) in the VA family caregiver program; 2. Authorizes the VA to contribute to local authorities to mitigate flooding risks on properties adjacent to VA medical facilities; 3. Requires an annual survey of police chiefs, facility emergency management leaders, facility directors, etc., for data regarding VA facility security; 4. Extends certain VA home loan fee rates through March 12, 2032. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jennifer Kiggans (R-VA) on May 22. It passed in the House on Dec. 4 and is now in the Senate for review.

Housing our Military Veterans Effectively Act of 2023 (HR 3848) – This Act is designed to address issues related to homeless veterans. It increases the maximum per diem payments to authorized entities that provide transitional housing and services to homeless veterans. It also authorizes a maximum of 200 percent of the rate for veterans who live in rural areas, areas with high veteran suicide rates and high rates of veteran homelessness. Furthermore, the bill authorizes the VA, through fiscal year 2024, to use certain funds to provide additional assistance to homeless veterans participating in the HUD-VA Supportive Housing program, and to manage the use of VA land for homeless veterans to live and sleep.The legislation was introduced on June 6 by Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) andpassed in the House on Dec. 5. Its fate currently rests with the Senate.

Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act (HR 4531) – This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes (through fiscal year 2028) grants, programs and activities that address substance use. The provisions address data collection, education and surveillance activities; support for substance use disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, recovery and trauma experienced by families of SUD patients; and student loan repayment and other resources for the SUD workforce. The legislation also modifies certain drug schedules of controlled substances and permanently requires that Medicaid cover medication-assisted treatment for eligible SUD patients. This bill was introduced by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) on July 11 and is co-sponsored by 37 Republicans and 27 Democrats. It passed in the House on Dec. 12 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.


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