The Committee marked up and passed 11 bipartisan regulatory relief bills this week. The bills are designed to help strengthen the economy, preserve consumer choice and allow more Americans an opportunity to achieve financial independence.
As the Committee began debate on the bills, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said “it is difficult, perhaps even impossible, to be more bipartisan or less controversial than these 11 bills that we consider today -- which means because they are bipartisan, they are modest. Although they are modest, they are not insignificant to our fellow citizens back home or to the community banks and credits unions that our fellow citizens depend on," he said.
Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) said, “Today, the Financial Services Committee has begun to move the pendulum closer to the direction of reasonable regulation by taking the first step to address much-needed regulatory relief for our Main Street financial institutions and the consumers they serve.”
This week the Committee also approved a resolution to create the bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing. The resolution passed unanimously by voice vote. Serving as the Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Task Force are Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC). Rep. Stephen Lynch (R-CT) will serve as the Ranking Member on the Task Force.
“As the United States pushes back against the tide of terror and extremism that is the enemy of freedom and peace everywhere, it must do so with every tool available – including within the financial system,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.
Rep. Pittenger said, “America remains the primary target of radical Islamist jihadists, who seek to destroy our way of life and the freedoms we cherish. We must do all we can to mitigate that threat.”Subcommittee Examines FDIC's Role in Operation Choke Point
The Hill | House panel advances Dodd-Frank tweaksThe Hill | House Republicans demand FDIC punish 'Operation Choke Point' operators
American Banker | House Banking Panel to Take Up Slate of Dodd-Frank Changes
Washington Examiner | Operation Choke Point claims more victims, ignores due process
The Hill | House panel advances Dodd-Frank tweaks
Credit Union Times | Credit Union Reg Relief Bills Approved
American Banker | House Panel Passes Reg TweaksGreen Bay Gazette | Duffy pushes FDIC on 'Operation Chokepoint'
The explosive growth of regulation following the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act has made it significantly harder for community banks and credit unions to survive and serve customers. New regulations and higher compliance costs have accelerated the pace of industry consolidation and forced many small banks and credit unions to close their doors. Since the passage of Dodd-Frank nearly five years ago, big financial institutions have gotten bigger and small financial institutions have become fewer.
As a result, consumers are finding they have less access to affordable credit and that their local financial institution can no longer provide them with the products and services they want and need, such as free checking or affordable home mortgages.
This is why Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has said the committee has no more “urgent priority” than passing regulatory relief legislation for hometown banks and credit unions.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that community banks and credit unions are withering on the vine. We are losing, on average, more than one a day and they are not perishing of natural causes,” said Chairman Hensarling. “The sheer weight, volume, cost, complexity and uncertainty of federal regulation is a burden that is killing them off. And as they die, unfortunately, so do the dreams of millions of our fellow citizens who rely upon these community financial institutions to achieve their American dream of financial independence.”
The 11 bills passed by the committee have bipartisan support. All 11 bills had also previously been approved by either the Financial Services Committee or the House of Representatives during the 113th Congress. However, none of the bills came up for a vote in the Senate, which was then under Democratic control.
A list and summary of the bills passed today follows:
H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Summary: Allows privately insured state chartered credit unions to apply for membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which would help them better serve the financial needs of consumers. The bill passed the House by a vote of 395-0 during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 56-1.
H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act
Sponsor: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Summary: Reduces confusion among consumers by clarifying that they will receive privacy notices after opening a new account when their financial institution’s privacy policies change rather than an annual notice. The House passed a similar bill by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 57-0.
H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act
Sponsor: Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)
Summary: Amends the Truth in Lending Act, as modified by the Dodd-Frank Act, to ensure that consumers can continue to have access to manufactured housing by altering the definition of a “high-cost mortgage.” The bill passed the committee by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 43-15.
H.R. 685, the “the Mortgage Choice Act
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
Summary: Provides clarity to the calculation of points and fees, allowing more loans to qualify as Qualified Mortgages and increasing options for borrowers. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 43-12.
H.R. 1195, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Boards Act
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC)
Summary: Creates a small business advisory board to advise the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This advisory board will provide small businesses the opportunity to weigh in on matters of concern, and for the CFPB to learn about market conditions affecting these businesses. The bill also codifies two other advisory committees created by CFPB Director Cordray, the Credit Union Advisory Council and the Community Bank Advisory Council. The committee passed the bill by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 53-5.
H.R. 1259, the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act
Sponsor: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
Summary: Provides an appeals process for areas to be designated as rural for the purpose of exempting certain loans from the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage rule. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 56-2.
H.R. 1265, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act
Sponsor: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
Summary: Brings greater transparency and accountability to the CFPB by subjecting it to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Only three agencies are exempted from the Federal Advisory Committee Act – the CIA, the Directorate of National Intelligence and the Federal Reserve. The CFPB is not involved in intelligence collection, covert operations, or the formation of monetary policy, so there is no reason that it cannot hold its committee and subcommittee meetings in public. This bill passed the committee by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 56-2.
H.R. 1367, clarifying the Expedited Funds Availability Act’s application to U.S. territories
Sponsor: Rep. Amata Radewagen (R-American Samoa)
Summary: Improves check-clearing wait times in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands by extending the application of the Expedited Funds Availability Act. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 58-0.
H.R. 1408 the Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Summary: Directs federal banking agencies to conduct a study to determine the appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for community financial institutions. The bill passed the committee 44-9 during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 49-9.
H.R. 1480, the SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL)
Summary: Provides assurance for financial institutions that privileged information shared between federal banking regulators and state regulatory agencies will be protected and remain confidential. The bill passed the House by voice vote during the 113th Congress.
The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 58-0.
H.R. 1529, the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act
Sponsor: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Summary: Ensures that consumers continue to have various credit choices by allowing smaller community financial institutions to enter the mortgage market without being deterred by the high cost of regulatory compliance. The bill amends the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to direct the CFPB to provide exemptions from the mortgage escrow account requirements of Dodd-Frank and for small servicers that annually service 20,000 or fewer mortgage loans. The bill passed the committee 43-16 during the 113th Congress.The Financial Services Committee approved the bill today by a vote of 48-10. Read More
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) released the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 27):
“Budgets are about priorities, and the House Republican budget resolution passed today by the House of Representatives advances several important priorities. To give hardworking, middle income families the opportunity to achieve economic success, our budget calls for comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform that lowers tax rates on American families and businesses, and broadens the tax base by getting rid of loopholes and special interest provisions. To keep our promise to current and future seniors, we save, strengthen, and secure Medicare and Social Security by getting these important programs off the path to certain bankruptcy. To get our nation’s fiscal house in order and off the path to national bankruptcy, our budget stops spending money we don’t have, will balance in less than 10 years, and will allow us to begin paying down our nation’s debt. To empower patients and doctors to make their own health care decisions, our budget fully repeals Obamacare. To stop future bailouts enshrined into law by the Dodd-Frank Act, our budget ends Washington’s regime for officially designating certain financial firms as ‘too big to fail’ and envisions the eventual elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage giants that received the largest taxpayer-funded bailout in history. Our budget also brings needed accountability to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to make sure it doesn’t engage in wasteful spending but instead uses its resources to actually help protect American consumers.
“At a time when the threats to our national security are on the rise, this budget ensures that our nation’s military has the resources needed to defend our nation and allow our men and women in uniform to carry out the mission we’ve tasked them with. In a perfect world, it would have been my preference to provide increased spending for our nation’s defense without using the ‘off-budget’ Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. But this would have opened the door for the President to enter this process seeking dramatic increases for his priorities, ultimately threatening to undo the spending caps established by the Budget Control Act.
“When you compare this budget with the President’s budget, his hurts the economic and job opportunities of current and future generations of Americans by continuing to spend money we don’t have. By completely blowing up the bipartisan spending caps that Republicans and Democrats agreed to just over three years ago in the Budget Control Act, increasing taxes on hard working Americans, and failing to reform Social Security and Medicare – all the president has really done is step on the accelerator, hurdling us that much faster towards financial oblivion and leaving American families with a downsized American Dream.
“Simply put, President Obama’s budget prioritizes big government and even bigger taxes. The House Republican Budget prioritizes economic growth and opportunity for all Americans and gives them the opportunity to pursue their version of the American dream.”
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Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee hearing to examine the Securities and Exchange Commission’s FY2016 budget request and agenda:
This morning we welcome Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White back to the Committee.
This Committee is indeed committed to conducting vigorous oversight to make certain the SEC is accountable in fulfilling its three-part mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets, and promoting capital formation.
By holding today’s hearing, we hope to better understand the progress the Commission is making and its priorities for the remainder of the year.
I have no doubt the hearing will serve as déjà vu all over again for Members who argue that the SEC has inadequate resources within with which to carry on its mission. However, the facts are that the SEC’s budget has grown tremendously over the years. In fact, the SEC’s current budget of $1.5 billion represents an increase of almost 35% since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act not yet five years ago. In fact, over a twenty year period since 1995, the SEC’s budget has increased by nearly 400%. That is three times greater than our national defense budget has grown at a time when we have to fight the international war on terror. This growth in the SEC’s budget considerably outstrips most other government agencies over the similar time period.
Furthermore, as I look to the monitors on my left and right which shows the rapidly rising and unsustainable red ink of our national debt; a debt that threatens to bankrupt our nation, I am reminded that hard-working Texans of the Fifth District that represent, they have not had the privilege of seeing their family budgets increase four-fold. They are the ones who ultimately will have to pay for this unsustainable debt.
Which again underscores that in Washington, it is not always how much money you spend that counts; it’s how you spend money. And that leads to the SEC’s priorities and agenda for 2015.
The bipartisan JOBS Act should be a priority but, regrettably, it does not appear the SEC treats it as such. At a time when the American people continue to struggle with the slowest, weakest recovery of the post-war era, the SEC’s neglect of this makes no sense. Even President Obama, with whom I rarely agree, has called the JOBS Act “a big deal” and a “potential game changer” that will help smaller companies take “a major step towards expanding and hiring more workers.” Surely, we want companies on Main Street to hire more workers. So if the SEC will not finish the work on the JOBS Act, it is incumbent that Congress do it for them.
Likewise, the SEC’s delay in completing its Dodd-Frank mandates, particularly in the derivatives area, has caused unnecessary uncertainty and allowed the CFTC to dictate outcomes that I believe most Members of Congress did not intend.
So as we discuss the SEC’s budget request today, our goal as always is accountability. It is this committee’s duty to ensure SEC resources are used wisely and efficiently and for the benefit of the American people.
Tuesday, March 24 at 10:00 A.M.- A full committee hearing to review the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) agenda, operations, and Fiscal Year 2016 budget request. SEC Chair Mary Jo White will testify.
The hearing will take place in room HVC-210 of the Capitol Visitor Center.
Tuesday, March 24 at 2:00 P.M.- An Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing to examine the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) role in Operation Choke Point. FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg will testify.
The hearing will take place in room HVC-210 of the Capitol Visitor Center.
Wednesday, March 25 at 9:00 A.M.- A full committee markup of bipartisan legislation to preserve consumer choice and financial independence. A list of the legislation to be considered during the markup can be found here. The committee will also formally approve the creation of the bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorist Financing.
“We are committed to making sure our government is doing everything possible to stop the Islamic State and other terrorists from using the global financial system to finance their acts of evil,” said Chairman Hensarling. “Fighting the financial war against terror demands constant innovation and vigilance.”
The committee is scheduled to consider a resolution creating the task force on Wednesday.
Task Force Membership
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) (Chairman)
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) (Vice Chairman)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY)
Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA)
Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ)
Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL)
Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)
Rep. French Hill (R-AR)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) (Ranking Member)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. James Himes (D-CT)
Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-MI)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Witnesses told the Committee on Wednesday that Washington’s growing regulatory burden doesn’t just affect a bank or credit union’s bottom line, it also restricts consumers’ choices and access to affordable credit.
This is especially true for Americans with low and moderate incomes.
"It’s not an exaggeration to say that every single week we hear from another financial institution that is having trouble meeting the needs of their customers,” said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). I have one message here from a bank in Arkansas that says due to the Qualified Mortgage rule that they have had to cease funding mobile homes 'which have long been a source of homeownership for low to moderate income consumers in our markets.' Here is one from a credit union in California who says due to federal regulation that one of their members can no longer wire funds to a family member in Ukraine. Here is one from a bank in Massachusetts -- 'we have experienced a spike in loan declines to women,' for their investigation identified that women attempting to buy the family home to settle their divorce and stabilize their family were being declined at a high rate due to the Dodd-Frank Qualified Mortgage rules and the ability to pay rules."
In its coverage of the hearing, the Mobile Press-Register quoted witness Tyrone Fenderson. "This job has been made much more difficult by the avalanche of new rules, guidance and seemingly ever-changing expectation of regulators,' Fenderson said. 'It is this regulatory burden and the fear of even more regulation that often pushes small banks to sell to banks many times their size.'"
Witness Peggy Bosma-LaMascus urged Congress to require “realistic and robust cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations,” the American Banker reported, “so the result would be smarter regulation.”
The Committee’s hearing on Tuesday gave Members the opportunity to question Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on a variety of important issues ranging from the international financial system to the growing regulatory burden to the ongoing transparency controversy surrounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI) questioned the Obama Administration’s plans for the IMF, asking “why should hardworking, middle-income American taxpayer dollars be used to bail out other countries, especially after suffering from bailout fatigue in our own backyard dealing with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and a number of others?”
Others voiced concerns that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has ignored the harmful consequences the Dodd-Frank Act has had on community financial institutions and their customers. "The administration's insistence on defending the Dodd-Frank brand at all costs is made all the more mystifying by the fact that the primary author of the law, our former colleague Barney Frank, has identified a number of provisions that he believes should be revisited. What's more, then-Fed Chairman Bernanke, in his last hearing with us, listed multiple bipartisan legislative reforms that policy makers could unite around to improve our financial regulatory system,” said Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL). "They both recognized that a law that runs to 2,300 pages and imposes at least 400 mandates cannot possibly be perfect, and that changes are, therefore, warranted.”
The Durango Herald reported that Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) questioned why FSOC “has not reviewed the effects of these regulations on the local banks in the over 40 FSOC meetings since 2010, despite being legally required to do” under Dodd-Frank.
Committee Members also sought answers from Secretary Lew regarding former Secretary Clinton's use of a personal email address for official business. For much of the first two years of the Obama Administration, Secretary Lew served as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, making him the department’s chief operating officer.
However, Secretary Lew failed to shed any light on the issue, saying he had “no recollection” if he ever had any conversations with anyone about the State Department’s email policy and the he “didn’t pay a lot of attention to what e-mail” Secretary Clinton was using.Subcommittee Calls for Fairness and Protection of Shareholders in the SEC's Use of Enforcement
March 24, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing
"Examining the SEC’s Agenda, Operations, and FY 2016 Budget Request"
March 24, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing
"The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Role in Operation Choke Point"
Wall Street Journal | Treasury Secretary Lew: No Recollection of Clinton Email System
Durango Herald | Tipton questions impact of rules on local banks
Mobile Press-Register | Mobile community banker calls for relief from 'avalanche of new rules' created by Dodd-Frank
Wall Street Journal | How Foreigners Became America’s Financial Regulators
Wall Street Journal | Ending Federal Loan Fraud
American Banker | 'Time Is of the Essence' to Save Small Institutions, Lawmakers Warn
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal | Local banker to speak on behalf of community banks at Congressional hearing
American Banker | Treasury's Lew on Volcker, Systemic Threshold and the State of Regulation
CNN | GOP hits Fed on leaks
Bloomberg | House Financial Services Chairman Says Criminal Probe Opened Into 2012 Fed Leak
“We are committed to making sure our government is doing everything possible to stop the Islamic State and other terrorists from using the global financial system to finance their acts of evil,” said Chairman Hensarling. “Fighting the financial war against terror demands constant innovation and vigilance. The Task Force to Investigate Terrorist Financing will examine what, if any, changes are needed to upgrade and improve our nation’s ability to starve terrorists of the money they need to carry out their attacks.”
The committee is expected to adopt a resolution that formally creates the task force next week.
“As the United States pushes back against the tide of terror and extremism that is the enemy of freedom and peace everywhere, it must do so with every tool available – including within the financial system," said Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) who will serve as Chairman of the task force. “It is my hope that this new task force will encourage and produce true bipartisan measures to devastate and disrupt the ability of terror groups to finance and fund their warped ideologies. I thank Chairman Hensarling and Ranking Member Waters for their leadership in taking the first step toward addressing this important issue, and look forward to working with Rep. Lynch on efforts to expand this committee’s role in the fight against terrorism,” Fitzpatrick added.
“Deterring terrorist activity is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it’s an American issue,” said Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Committee’s Ranking Member. “I hope that this task force is able to embrace our common goal of making America more secure by working together in a non-partisan manner to prevent banks and other financial institutions from supporting terrorist groups.”
"Detecting and disrupting the flow of funding to terrorist groups is critical in our fight against terrorism. While it has proven to be difficult work, it is also worthwhile. I am honored by Ranking Member Maxine Waters' recommendation to serve as the Democratic lead on this new bipartisan Task Force as we join with Chairman Hensarling and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to improve our efforts to halt terrorist financing. The rise of ISIS, and the organization’s ability to finance an extensive enterprise requires us to continually meet new challenges in this critical counterterrorism area,” said Congressman Lynch.
Under House rules, committee task forces can exist for no longer than six months, so the Task Force to Investigate Terrorist Financing will complete its work by the end of September.
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Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee hearing to examine the regulatory burden facing community banks and credit unions and the detrimental effect this burden has on consumers:
I would say of all the priorities of our committee I know of not one that is more urgent than providing some regulatory relief for our community financial institutions. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are literally withering on the vine. We are losing more than one a day and they are not perishing of natural causes. The sheer weight, volume, cost, complexity and uncertainty of federal regulation is a burden that is killing them off. And as they die, unfortunately, so do the dreams of millions and millions of our fellow citizens, hardworking taxpayers, who rely upon these community financial institutions to help buy a pickup truck to to drive to work, maybe help fund the first kid in their family to ever to go to college, to start a small business and achieve their American dream of financial independence.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that every single week we hear from another financial institution that is having trouble meeting the needs of their customers. I have one message here from a bank in Arkansas that says due to the Qualified Mortgage rule that they have had to cease funding mobile homes “which have long been a source of homeownership for low to moderate income consumers in our markets.” Here is one from a credit union in California who says due to federal regulation that one of their members can no longer wire funds to a family member in Ukraine. Here is one from a bank in Massachusetts -- “we have experienced a spike in loan declines to women” for their investigation identified that women attempting to buy the family home to settle their divorce and stabilize their family were being declined at a high rate due to the Dodd-Frank Qualified Mortgage rules and the ability to pay rules.
Regrettably, these are not exceptions. We hear from these banks and credit unions every day and we understand how federal regulation can adversely impact low and moderate income Americans.
Now some, particularly those on the other side of the Capitol, have said community financial institutions are doing just fine. In fact they have said“regulators have done a pretty good job protecting community banks.” I suspect many of our witnesses will disagree with their statement. I believe that assertion is just wrong, dangerously wrong and out of touch with low and moderate income Americans.
Much, but certainly not all, of this regulatory burden has emanated from Dodd-Frank. I am not a fan of Dodd-Frank but even I can find some good in it. What Dodd-Frank attempted to do on 13(3) of the Fed, what it’s done to help eliminate the credit rating agencies’ monopoly, what it’s done to make balance sheets less opaque. So if I can find some good in it I hope my friends on the other side of the aisle can admit it has done some harm. I know Barney Frank has found at least half a dozen different areas where we he would amend his own law. He said it right before us back in July.
And so I would ask all of my Democratic colleagues to have an open mind as we enter into this and I invite all Members to engage in in the bipartisan effort of regulatory relief for our community financial institutions and find some common ground. I will reserve the right to have an exception to the rule but the rule is going to be any Member who brings a legitimate, bipartisan piece of legislation to provide needed regulatory relief to community financial institutions, we will mark it up. Time is of the essence; let’s get started.
2129 Rayburn HOB
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