Credit reporting bill passes House but faces long odds in Senate

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The House on Wednesday passed a package of bills by a 221-189 vote that would overhaul the credit reporting system and give consumers more chances to repair their histories.

The Comprehensive CREDIT Act was pushed through by House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and would require the reporting agencies Equifax, TransUnion and Experian to make a series of changes in how they monitor consumers' credit records.

The vote was split along party lines. No Republicans voted in favor of the measure, casting doubt on its chances in the Senate. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the top Republican on the committee, said on the House floor Wednesday that the bill does not stand a chance of being signed into law.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., left, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

The package is made up of six bills intended to fix a credit reporting system that Waters called "badly broken."

"Consumers are frustrated with the current system," Waters said on the House floor Wednesday.

The package of bills includes one measure that would clear negative information from credit reports after four years and remove blemishes from private student loans if nine consecutive payments are made on time. Impacts from predatory or discriminatory loans would also be taken off credit histories under another measure.

Other bills in the package would prompt the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue new credit reporting regulations governing scoring models and barring employers from running credit checks on job applicants.

Waters also tucked in a proposal she had been working on with other lawmakers that would remove problems on federal employee credit histories that stem from government shutdowns.

Republicans supported this measure on the floor but objected to the broader bill.

McHenry said on the floor Wednesday that he was "no fan" of the credit reporting bureaus, but that the proposed changes to credit reports would make it riskier to lend to borrowers.

"This bill will weaken underwriting standards," McHenry said.

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