On Friday, the SCPR received an e-mail from 16th District Congressman Jim Renacci (Republican - Wadsworth) which, on the face of it, seemed to be a description of laudable bipartisan legislation he was undertaking.
Renacci is engaged in the political fight of his life to retain the 16th District congressional seat (reconstituted due to decennial redistricting as required by the U.S. Constitution) because the redistricting process threw Democratic Congresswoman Betty Sutton (now representing the 13th) into the 16th.
(NOTE: The SCPR has sought a reaction to the Renacci claim to be on the side of those struggling to redeem their credit standing, but has not received a response as of the publication of this blog)
In his email, Renacci said (in part):
... Representative Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, and I brought some significant national attention to the credit reporting bill we introduced last week ... .Renacci directed readers of the email to a Wall Street Journal Op-ed authored by himself and Ellison.
He goes on to say:
The substance of the bill is actually quite simple. It would allow utility and telecom companies to report on-time payments from customers to the three credit rating agencies. Right now, utility companies are only allowed to report when people are late with their payments. The way I see it, if a utility company can ding your credit, shouldn’t they also have the ability to help you rebuild it?Double down on the "hmm?
Jim Renacci (who reportedly has a $37 million fortune) concerned about the plight of a number of the 47% down and outers who Mitt Romney has written off? Interesting, no?
Go on Congressman!
This additional reporting can help those without access to other forms of credit – so-called “credit invisibles” – build their scores. It can also help those who may have made a mistake or two in the past recover from the damage done.Triple down on the "hmm?"
But, of course, the SCPR does not "take at face value" what anyone says, no matter who they are.
So why is this seemingly good deed suspect to the SCPR?
Well, here is the list:
- It is a little late in coming.
- Renacci became congressman on January 1, 2011 and so how is it that he waits until September 12, 2012 some 57 days before he is up for re-election in an extremely tight race (which a number of pundit figure he is behind in before he becomes the prime sponsor of H.R. 6363?
- Those needing credit repair didn't suddenly materialize about two months before the election, did they?
- Despite the congressmen's claim that HR 6363 will help the down-and-out rebuild their credit scores, there are those who believe that Renacci's bill will actually hurt the "credit-impaired." One such organization is the National Consumer Law Center. The Center objected as follows in a letter to Renacci (dated September 12th; LINK to the NCLC letter) that:
- in Ohio, for instance, 21% of utility customers have a history of paying late,
- a resulting low credit score "can put a target on consumer's backs for predatory lenders such as fee-harvester credit cards, who rely on pre-screened lists of consumers with bad credit."
- would be employers might back off from hiring those with a history of late pay on utility bills,
- insurance companies might well use the reports to charge these folks higher insurance rates,
- There is only a 3% chance that the Renacci bill will become law which makes it pretty clear that he has introduced the bill to make it appear he is consumer friendly knowing full well that it is remote at best that the bill will ever pass even if one wants to by his spin that it help the down-and-out as against an organization (the NCLC) that just might know a little more about how to help the down-and-out than Renacci does.
Below is some information from GovTrack.us which shows how little chance Renacci's initiative has of ever making it into law.
By the way GovTrack.us describes itself thusly:
GovTrack.us is a tool by Civic Impulse, LLC to help the public research and follow legislation in the United States Congress and the state legislatures. Our goal is to promote and innovate government transparency, civic engagement, and civic education through novel uses of technology. (LINK to analysis of time track of Renacci's legislation)
So as far as the SCPR is concerned it is pretty evident that Congressman Renacci has come up with this piece of legislation in order to fool the people into thinking he has become a friend of a number of the 47% who are not supportive of his political party.
It is efforts like Rencci's that when discovered for what they are (a cynical use of legislative processes for individual political advantage and manipulation) that contributes to the 17% approval rate that the American public has towards congressmen/women.
Take a look at the polling picture Congressman Renacci is helping to paint!