HOW THE ELECTION RESULTS WILL AFFECT THE TITLE INDUSTRY
VOLUME 100 | ISSUE 1 | JANUARY 2021
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN AND THE 117TH CONGRESS take office amid a raging pandemic as Democrats’ policy agenda and nominees hinge on who controls the Senate. Two Georgia runoff elections on Jan. 5 will determine majority: Democrat Raphael Warnock vs. Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler (appointed) and Democrat Jon Ossoff vs. Republican Sen. David Perdue (incumbent). If the Republicans win either, they will continue to control the chamber. If the Democrats take both, they will control the chamber with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any tie votes.
No matter how the Senate runoffs pan out, Democrats will continue to control the House of Representatives, but by slimmer margins than was expected. House Republicans fared better than predicted and this could open the door to have the GOP take back the chamber in the 2022 midterms. Until then, a significant milestone of the 2020 election is the anticipated record number of women who will serve in the next Congress: 131, up from 127. Meanwhile, businesses in the title and settlement industry will need to brace for a change in policies and legislative direction, but can expect the strong housing market to continue.
“As the dust settles and with slim margins in both chambers, compromise will be essential if anything significant is to get accomplished legislatively,” said Chris Morton, ALTA’s senior vice president of public affairs. “President-elect Joe Biden has already announced several economic policy nominees and we can expect an active, consumer-focused legislative and regulatory agenda coming out of the Biden White House, cabinet departments and agencies such as HUD, FHFA and CFPB. Because of this, we will need to introduce ourselves early in the new year to officials in those key seats.”
While Congress hasn’t voted on the SECURE Notarization Act and the bill wasn’t included in any COVID-19 stimulus package, it continues to collect strong bipartisan support. In addition to the bill sponsor, there are five co-sponsors in the Senate and 82 in the House.
The three main components of SECURE would allow for nationwide use of remote online notarization (RON), establish minimum national standards and provide certainty regarding interstate recognition. These standards require the use of multi-factor authentication of the signer, use of tamper-evident technology, and an audio-video recording of the notarial act.
“Any state RON law already on the books that meets these three criteria, then the state law would supersede the federal law,” said Elizabeth Blosser, ALTA’s vice president of government affairs.
Emily Tryon, ALTA’s director of policy, said ALTA continues to lead a coalition of trade associations and corporations lobbying in support of SECURE and push for passage of the legislation. In addition to the Mortgage Bankers Association and National Association of Realtors, other groups represent builders and community bankers.
“We will continue to work to try and get this added to any COVID-19 relief package or other legislative vehicle moving forward in 2021,” Tryon added.