Daines Secures Much-Needed Reforms for America’s Cybersecurity, Postal Service, Financial Services Sector

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today secured provisions to safeguard American’s cyber infrastructure, protect rural postal service, reduce regulatory burdens and help Montana community banks and credit unions better serve their customers. 

Daines joined the Senate Appropriations Committee today in approving the FY2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. Daines secured key provisions to maintain six-day delivery through FY16 and urge the U.S. Postal Service to make good-faith efforts to either renew postal contract station agreements or find suitable alternatives to serve rural areas.

In light of the Office and Personnel Management’s failure to report on numerous occasions the scope of the massive breach of personal and security information, Daines also worked to create transparency and accountability within OPM.

  • USPS:  Requires that the United States Postal Service (USPS) complete 6-day deliveries and prohibits the use of funds to close small rural post offices.
  • OPM:  Has the Inspector General file semi-annual reports to Congress and the American people on the cybersecurity status at the Office of Personnel Management. 

Daines’ amendment to ensure accessibility to postal services was applauded by Rick Kindsvatter, President National Association of Postal Supervisors Montana State Branch 929:

“Montana State branch of the National Association of Postal Supervisors applauds Senator Daines for introducing language to the Financial Services Appropriations bill that would ensure Montanans and others will have access to USPS facilities and receive the level of service they so richly deserve.  Customers in our state rely heavily on the USPS and their services because of the rural characteristic of Montana.  Members of our association want to improve the level of service that our customers have experienced in the past as they look to the USPS for the prompt, reliable, economical & secure means of staying connected with others for the delivery and sending of medication, election ballots, bills, payment, correspondence to name a few.  These amendments are the right steps to make sure that Montanans and others continue to receive services they expect and deserve.”

Daines also successfully worked to include provisions addressing the lack of broadband deployment in rural areas and in tribal communities, as well as call completion issues that continues to affect rural communities.

Federal Communications Commission: Following a series of last minute and secretive proceedings at the FCC, Daines has worked to encourage transparency at the agency. The FCC’s routine practice of making significant changes to rules after the agency has already voted on them bars consumers, legislators, and industry from viewing the rules and regulations they will be impacted by. In an effort to reform this process and increase transparency, the bill directs the FCC to identify any changes made to rules after the agency as voted on them. 

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Includes a Daines provision to prevent the CPSC from finalizing or implementing a new regulation for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs) until the National Academy of Sciences completes a study to determine the technical validity the lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements.  ROVs are for off-highway use and is the lifeline for Montana farmers, ranchers, and sportsmen.  It is not to be regulated as a highway vehicle as the CPSC proposed rules intends.  Daines is a cosponsor of similar legislation, S. 1040, which passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee this May.

Maintaining oversight on the President’s national security actions: Increases funding for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which provides oversight on the President and his ability to exercise broad discretion on national security issues.  This board reviews the President’s actions taken to protect America from terrorism, and determines whether those actions will also protect the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens.

Daines helped secure other important reforms to help Montana’s community banks and credit unions better serve Montana families and communities:

Reforming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB):  Reins in the CPFB by ensuring the agency is accountable to Congress. The CFPB will receive funds only through the congressional appropriations process, rather than from independent quasi-governmental sources, such as the Federal Reserve Bank.

Eliminates regulatory redundancies for community banks and credit unions:  Permits financial institutions to not send annual privacy notices every year, unless an institution has made changes to its privacy policy.

Cutting back red-tape regulations for small banks: Reduces burdensome regulations on community banks and credit unions that were originally intended for large banks.  This provision requires the CFPB to establish a process to designate loans made in rural areas.  Once designated, the loans will receive preferred regulatory treatment.

Creates a safety harbor for certain loans held in a bank’s portfolio: Exempts certain bank loans from unnecessarily harsh regulatory requirements of the CFPB.

Provides higher credit accessibility for manufactured housing purchasers: Declassifies manufactured housing loans as high-cost loans, resulting in more consumer accessibility as a result.

IRS Taxpayer Services: Increases IRS Taxpayer Services by $90 million. This increase will reduce long wait times that taxpayers have experienced during the tax-filing season.

Daines’ efforts were applauded across Montana’s financial services industry:

Montana Bankers Association: “The Montana Bankers Association, representing the state banking leadership and the thousands of Montana bank employees, wishes to express our support for the financial regulatory improvement language, to be marked up by the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.  We appreciate the work that Senator Daines has put into this effort and we support any and all efforts to enact meaningful regulatory relief legislation that will help Montana’s hometown banks to continue to serve the needs of their customers and communities.”

Tracie Kenyon, President/CEO Montana Credit Union Network: “Montana’s credit unions appreciate Senator Steve Daines’ support of regulatory relief. As financial cooperatives serving “Main Street” interests, we did not create the financial collapse and yet have been swept into the over-burdensome regulatory environment created by the aftermath. We are pleased to see movement toward a more reasonable approach to financial oversight.”  

Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants: “In a taxation system based on voluntary compliance a competent, reliable and accessible Taxpayer Assistance Program to assist taxpayers and tax practitioners in complying with the law is essential and a key responsibility of the Internal Revenue Service.  The current levels of taxpayer service are not adequate to meet the needs of taxpayers and puts an unnecessary burden on taxpayers and on the tax collection process.  Increasing the funding to the IRS specifically to improve taxpayer service is important in fulfilling that responsibility.”