A Responsible Financial Regulation Plan
Congressman Forbes supported the Consumer Protection and Regulatory Enhancement Act that is centered on three simple truths to help the economy: (1) Enhanced Bankruptcy, (2) Fundamental Reform of the Federal Reserve, (3) Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Reform.
An Optional Flat Tax
Congressman Forbes has cosponsored the Freedom Flat Tax Act, which would allow individuals and businesses the option of selecting a one-page flat tax in lieu of the current system. More...
US Chamber Spirit of Enterprise Award
The US Chamber of Commerce has presented Rep. Forbes with an award for his support of business policies aimed at lowering taxes, simplifying the tax code and reducing burdensome regulations. More...
Full Faith and Credit Act
Congressman Forbes supports a bill to require the Treasury to prioritize payments on the public debt over any other payments in the event the debt ceiling is not raised. More...
Called for transparency and effective oversight of the Federal Reserve. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, H.R. 24, which would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve banks. In recent years, the Federal Reserve has vastly expanded government involvement in the private sector and has authorized bailouts valued at more than $1 trillion. Although the Federal Reserve has released information about the amounts borrowed by companies that utilized emergency programs, Congress has not been informed about the factors weighed by the Federal Reserve in determining how and to which institutions to lend the money. H.R.24 would allow Congress to perform its appropriate oversight duty, ensuring that credible standards guide the Federal Reserve’s decision making.
Reduced regulations that have led to frivolous lawsuits. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 4367, legislation to repeal an ATM machine regulation that has led to an increase in frivolous lawsuits for banks and credit unions. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act enacted in 1978 required that ATM machines display warnings on both the computer screen and on a sign on the exterior of the machine notifying customers that they may be charged a fee if they are not members of the bank. The law allowed consumers to file a lawsuit if the ATM operator failed to display the warnings. H.R. 4367 removed the part of the regulation that required a sign to be posted on the outside of the machine. The bill was aimed at preventing lawsuit fraud that has increased as people have been ripping the placards off ATMs and then suing the financial institutions. The bill maintains the existing requirement that such warnings appear on the computer screen before the customer is committed to the transaction. The bill passed by a vote of 371-0.
Honored the U.S. Marshals Service. Congressman Forbes supported the United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, H.R.886, to direct the Treasury to mint and issue coins to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service. This bill passed by a vote of 409-2-2.
Clarified rental-purchase agreements. Congressman Forbes supported the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act, H.R.1588, to prescribe consumer protection guidelines for rental-purchase transactions and define the transaction as a lease with the option to purchase. Currently, federal law addresses leases with terms of at least 4 months or a credit sale, but does not define a lease with the option to purchase.
Opposed insider trading. Congressman Forbes supported a House amendment to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, S.2038. The STOCK Act is a bipartisan solution that would prohibit Members of Congress and federal employees from profiting from nonpublic information they obtain via their official positions. It also requires Members and employees of Congress to report the purchase, sale, or exchange of any stock, bond, or commodity future transaction in excess of $1,000 within 90 days.
This bill passed the House by a vote of 417-2.
Worked to ensure regulatory compliance and fairness for banks. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, H.R.3461, to improve the bank examination process regarding the increase in regulatory compliance issues for financial institutions and the fairness of the examination process since the recent financial crisis.
Supported financial reform and increased accountability. Congressman Forbes supported a Senate amendment to H.R. 2056, a bill intended to instruct the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to study the impact of insured depository institution (bank) failures. The bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to carry out a separate study on the causes of high rates of bank failure in states that have had 10 or more failures since 2008.
This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Supported financial reform and increased accountability. Congressman Forbes supported H.R.2056, a bill intended to instruct the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to study the impact of insured depository institution (bank) failures. Bank failures typically represent a cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund administered by the FDIC because, as receiver of the failed institution, it must liquidate assets that have declined substantially in value while at the same time making good on the institution's deposit obligations. This requires a study of that cost and the adverse impact failed banks have upon the FDIC. This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Supported accountability of financial institutions. Congressman Forbes voted to support the Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act, H.R.1315, which would ensure more oversight and accountability of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created the CFPB, which is led by a single, unelected director, as an independent agency within the Federal Reserve.
Extended FDIC coverage. Congressman Forbes supported amending the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R.6398) to include requiring the FDIC to insure trust accounts established by an attorney or law firm on a client’s behalf. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Protected debit card rewards programs and member benefits. Congressman Forbes signed a letter urging Members tasked with crafting the final language of the financial regulatory reform bill to omit the so-called Durbin Amendment, which would force the Federal Reserve to set debit card rates and terms, compromising card benefits.
Expanding Charitable Giving to University Groups. Congressman Forbes became a cosponsor of the Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (H.R.1547), which would treat charitable contributions to not-for-profit student groups’ educational foundations as tax exempt for the purposes of upgrading their housing. This includes critical systems like sprinklers, detectors, and alarms, as well as energy efficiency upgrades.
Empowering Local Charities to Meet Community Needs. Congressman Forbes introduced the Citizens’ Choice Act, H.R. 4702, which would provide up to a $1,000 tax credit for donations made to charities. This bill would rely on individuals and businesses to meet the needs of their communities rather than the federal government. Even during challenging economic times, Americans have consistently demonstrated their generosity towards their fellow citizens. This bill will encourage charitable giving in a manner that best meets the needs of local communities.
Supported the James Monroe Commemorative Coin Act. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 4329 commemorating the bicentennial of the election of President Monroe. The funds collected from the coin will go to the James Monroe Memorial Foundation to reconstruct the birthplace of President Monroe including farm buildings and a visitor and education center in Westmoreland County, VA.
Supporting Emergency Access to Retirement Accounts. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 3612, which would waive the normal 10 percent early withdrawal penalty for retirement plans such as 401ks and Investment Retirement Accounts (IRAs), for individuals who have received 26 weeks of unemployment compensation. In times of financial hardship, penalty free withdrawals can help families avoid foreclosures on homes, maintain healthcare payments, and prevent long-term damage to their credit.
Supported H.R. 5244, the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008. This bill would protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit practices. It would also prohibit retroactive rate increases on existing balances, require creditors to provide written notice of any rate increase 45 days before, prohibit double cycle billing, limit overlimit fees, and ban fees on interest-only balances.
Supported H.R. 3018, the Family Self-Sufficiency Act of 2007. This legislation would provide for payment of an administrative fee to public housing agencies to help cover the costs of administering family self-sufficiency programs in connection with the housing choice voucher program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Supported H.R. 6965, to extend the authorization of the national flood insurance program through April 30, 2009.
Supported H.R. 5611, National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act of 2008. This bill would reestablish the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers as a nonprofit corporation to provide for licensing, continuing education, and other insurance producer qualification requirements and conditions to be adopted and applied on a multi-state basis. H.R. 5611 will continue to preserve the right of states to license, supervise, and discipline insurance producers. The bill also sets forth membership requirements, including a mandatory criminal background check applicable to state-licensed insurance producers.
Supported H.R. 6513, the Securities Act of 2008. This legislation would enact into law several recommendations submitted to Congress in 2007 and 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The reforms are aimed at enhancing its corporation finance, enforcement, investment management, trading and markets, examinations programs and administrative functions. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the federal agency that enforces U.S. securities law. The mission of the SEC is “to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.”
Supported H.Res. 1271, which recognizes National Homeownership Month and the importance of homeownership in the United States. Owning a home is fundamental part of the American dream and is the largest personal investment most families will ever make. Homeownership provides economic security for homeowners by aiding them in building wealth over time and strengthens communities through a greater stake among homeowners in local schools, civic organizations, and churches. Creating affordable homeownership opportunities requires the commitment and cooperation of the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.
Supported H.R. 6312, to advance credit union efforts to promote economic growth, modify credit union regulatory standards and reduce burdens to provide regulatory relief and improve productivity for insured depository institutions. This legislation permits a credit union to invest in securities for its own account, subject to certain percentage limitations; and increase the investment and lending limit in credit union service organizations from 1% to 3% of a credit union's total paid and unimpaired capital and surplus.
Opposed H.R. 5749, the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would increase the federal deficit by $14 billion, because there is not offset for the cost of extending benefits offered in the bill. The bill would extend unemployment benefits from six months to one year and provide a total of 18 months of unemployment benefits in states where the unemployment rate is six percent or higher, but does not require beneficiaries to work for 20 weeks to be eligible for the benefits, which is required under current law.
Supported S. 254, to award posthumously a Congressional gold medal to Constantino Brumidi, the Italian artist who painted such masterpieces as The Apotheosis of Washington inside the Capitol Dome and other art work throughout the United States Capitol.
Supported H.R. 2268, the Mother's Day Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, which instructs the Treasury Department to mint 400,000 one dollar coins to honor the 100th anniversary of President Wilson's proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
Supported H.R. 3229, National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center Commemorative Coin Act, which instructs the Treasury Department to mint one dollar coins emblematic of the courage, pride, sacrifice, sense of duty, and history of the U.S. Infantry, in commemoration of the legacy of the U.S. Army Infantry and the establishment of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.
Supported H.R. 5512, the Coin Modernization and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2008. This bill would reduce the costs of producing one-cent and five-cent coins, provide authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to perform research and development on new metallic content for circulating coins, and require biennial reports to Congress on circulating coin production costs and possible alternative metallic content. A recent report revealed that rising metal costs have caused the cost to create a penny to exceed the value of the penny.
Supported H.R. 2894, the Star-Spangled Banner and War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act. This bill would require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the bicentennial of the writing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and the War of 1812. On September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured after the burning of Washington, DC. The release was completed, but Key was held by the British overnight during the shelling of Fort McHenry, one of the forts defending Baltimore. In the morning, Key peered through clearing smoke to see an enormous American flag flying proudly after a 25-hour British bombardment of Fort McHenry. He was so delighted to see the flag still flying over the fort that he began a poem to commemorate the occasion, with a note that it should be sung to the popular British melody `To Anacreon in Heaven'. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that it be played at military and naval occasions, and in 1931, the `Star-Spangled Banner' became our National Anthem. Rep. Forbes is a cosponsor of this bill.
Supported H.R. 5872, the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. This bill directs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue up to 350,000 $1 coins in commemoration of the centennial of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America, and requires that proceeds from sales of these coins go to the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation, to be made available to local councils in the form of grants for the extension of Scouting in hard-to-serve areas. The Boy Scouts of America is the largest youth organization in the United States, with 3,000,000 youth members and 1,000,000 adult leaders in the traditional programs of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing.
Voted against H.R. 2634, the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation of 2007. This bill would allow the U.S. Treasury Secretary to negotiate an agreement with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Paris Club to cancel the debt of 24 additional, eligible low-income countries. Total debt relief could exceed $6 billion. The bill would require Congress to authorize any agreements for debt cancellation before the Secretary enters into them. Debt relief has been cited as an important tool for improving security in the developing world. However, in a time when the U.S. economy is struggling and our own national debt exceeds $9.4 trillion, Congressman Forbes believes that we must first secure our own economy before forgiving other countries’ debts.
Voted in favor of the Senate Amendments to H.R. 2761, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. The Senate Amendments to H.R. 2761 would extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for seven years, as opposed to the House-passed version of H.R. 2761, which included a 15 year extension that Congressman Forbes did not support. TRIA would provide a federal backstop to the insurance industry for property and casualty insurance in the event of a terrorist attack. Insurance companies would have to meet a deductible to qualify for the TRIA backstop. H.R. 2761 would also extend TRIA coverage to domestic acts of terrorism.
Supported the Senate Amendments to H.R. 3648, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. H.R. 3648 would codify that mortgage debt on a principal residence forgiven through foreclosure, sale or loan restructuring would no longer count as taxable income by the IRS. This temporary change in tax law would apply to 2007, 2008, and 2009. The House passed a previous version of this bill that would have made this tax change permanent. However, the Senate would only accept a temporary repeal of this tax law. H.R. 3648 also extends the tax deduction for private mortgage insurance and would provide capital gains relief to widows and widowers by allowing them a two-year grace period to sell their home after a spouse’s death. Currently law requires them to sell their home within the same year of their spouse’s death to qualify for a capital gains exclusion on the sale of their home.
Voted in favor of the H.R. 3355, the Homeowners’ Defense Act. This would allow states to form a National Catastrophe Risk Consortium to pool their natural disaster risks and then sell bonds and reinsurance contracts to private investors. The bill would establish the National Homeowners Insurance Stabilization Fund which would provide low-interest loans to state-run insurance funds. In the event of a hurricane or other catastrophic natural disaster in the Commonwealth of Virginia, state-run insurance programs could receive low-interest loans from this fund to meet claims made by policyholders.
Opposed H.R. 3915, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007. H.R. 3915 would bring mortgage brokers, currently regulated on a state-by-state basis, under a nationwide licensing registry. In addition, this legislation would add new federal regulations on mortgage loan originators. For example, mortgage lenders and brokers would be required to ensure that mortgages are appropriate to the consumer’s existing circumstances based on whether the borrower has a reasonable ability to repay the loan and whether the borrower receives a net tangible benefit from the loan. This legislation would restrict access to credit, limit borrowers’ choices and reduce refinancing opportunities for current homeowners. Congressman Forbes supported the addition of language to the bill that would have prohibited a creditor from extending any credit in connection with a residential mortgage loan unless the creditor verifies the identity of an individual seeking to obtain any such loan. This language was not included in H.R. 3915 before final passage in the House of Representatives and Congressman Forbes opposed the final bill.
Supported H.R. 4118, which would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from taxing payments from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007.
Supported H.R. 2930, the Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act. H.R. 2930 would expand and streamline the Section 202 Housing Program, which provides seed money to nonprofit groups to help finance the construction, rehabilitation and acquisition of buildings to serve as housing for very low-income seniors, especially those who are frail, and offers rental assistance for residents of the complexes. The section 202 housing for the elderly program is the primary program within the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides housing exclusively for low-income elderly households. Over 300,000 seniors, most of them with incomes of less than $10,000 a year, currently rely on Section 202 for housing.
Supported H.R. 4050, the Levee-Like Structure Consideration Act. H.R. 4050 would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take into account the flood protection potential of levee-like structures - such as railroad tracks and highways - in mapping flood plains. This is an important component of flood protection plans for areas in the Chowan River Basin that have been subjected to severe flooding in recent years.
Supported H.R. 4253, Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act. H.R. 4253 would authorize $4.4 million for Veterans Business Outreach Centers. It would also establish a Women Veterans Business Training Resource Program to provide information on resources available to women veterans. The bill also provides technical and regulatory assistance to small businesses owned by reservists. The Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization Act has been endorsed by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Supported H.R. 4252, a temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958. H.R. 4252 would extend the Small Business Administration’s authorization until May 23, 2008. The SBA is currently operating under a temporary extension until such time as the Small Business Administration Reauthorization bill passes Congress and is signed into law