Banking & Finance

Ex-Equifax CEO Gets Trolled at Senate Banking Hearing
Monopoly character in top hat and mustache sat behind Richard Smith on second day of hearings

A protester dressed as Monopoly character Rich Uncle Pennybags sat behind former Equifax CEO Richard Smith. (banking.senate.gov)

The Monopoly logo character known as Rich Uncle Pennybags attended a hearing Wednesday to sit behind Richard Smith, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Equifax.

A protester with the advocacy organization Public Citizen trolled Smith while dressed in a fake mustache and top hat.

Regulator Warns Capital Buffers Shrinking at Fannie, Freddie
Lack of capital most serious risk

Melvin Watt (Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin L. Watt warned that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in danger of losing the capital buffers that enable the two government-sponsored enterprises to absorb financial losses, a development that could put a chokehold on the mortgage market and lead to another taxpayer-funded bailout.

The GSEs will see their capital cushions reduced to zero on Jan. 1, 2018, Watt said in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday.

Democrats Exclude CFPB in Faulting Regulators of Wells Fargo
Currency comptroller, Federal Reserve and FDIC criticized

Ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., participates in the House Financial Services Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A House Democratic report on Wells Fargo’s fraudulent creation of millions of bank and credit card accounts faulted the oversight of regulators including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

But the report released Friday by Democratic staff on the House Financial Services Committee didn’t blame the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for flaws in the investigation or enforcement at Wells Fargo, the nation’s second-largest bank by market capitalization.

Poll: Just 12 Percent of Americans Think Tax Code Update is Top Priority
Four in 10 said a Trump-led proposal would raise taxes on the middle class

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., holds his weekly news conference in the Capitol on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As efforts in the Senate to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law flounder, Congressional Republicans have now turned their attention toward overhauling the federal tax code. They are set to publicly release their framework for drafting a bill Wednesday afternoon.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and other GOP leaders long maintained they hoped to pass new tax legislation by Thanksgiving, but now some have pushed that target back to Christmas.

Why It Looks Like the Senate’s Debating the Defense Bill Again
Democrats anticipate GOP effort to reverse CFPB rule

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren expects the real floor business to be about overturning a consumer protection rule. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reading the Senate schedule Tuesday might give off a serious sense of deja vu. But there is a reason for that. 

Officially, senators are getting set to debate proceeding to the Senate version of the annual defense authorization bill. But wait, one might ask: Wasn’t Armed Services Chairman John McCain just on the floor for days overseeing that bill? Yes.

Mnuchin Says Sept. 29 Debt Deadline May Move ‘A Couple of Days’
Hurricane Harvey cited as factor

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies during the Senate Budget Committee hearing on the President’’s budget proposals Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he remained confident Congress would vote on a debt limit bill before the government runs out of money to pay the nation’s bills, but he suggested Congress needs to act sooner than the Sept. 29 date he has previously cited.

“The next big cash day for us is obviously Sept. 15 — that’s when we get corporate taxes, so the projections could move around a little bit,” Mnuchin said on CNBC. “We obviously have now the hurricane spending, which is an issue. So that is going to have some impact on our September spending. But, more importantly, we are going to have to go to Congress and get authorization to spend more, because it’s absolutely critical that we spend money to help the state.”

Commodities Agency Gets Cool Reception on Funding Bump Request

Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., didn't seem to buy the CFTC's argument that it needs more money. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The acting chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission is asking for a funding bump above the White House’s fiscal 2018 proposal, a request being declined by Republican agriculture policymakers despite their endorsing the agency’s message of keeping a balance between regulatory enforcement and vibrant futures and derivatives markets.

California’s David Valadao, the No. 2 Republican on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, brushed aside J. Christopher Giancarlo’s $281.5 million request for fiscal 2018 at a hearing on Thursday. Valadao, said the panel would focus on President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 request of $250 million.

House Republicans Vote to Strip Away Post-Financial Crisis Safeguards
Bill isn’t expected to be taken up in the Senate

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling says that “all of the promises of Dodd-Frank were broken.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans voted 233-186 Thursday to repeal large parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, just one month short of the seventh anniversary of the landmark law’s enactment.

The measure would unwind much of the financial structure put in place in the wake of the financial crisis. One of the biggest pieces of legislation enacted during the two terms of President Barack Obama, Dodd-Frank was designed to prevent the type of practices that led to the 2008 financial crisis and the recession it caused. Republicans have long complained that the law stifled the economy because it put too large a regulatory burden on business.

GOP Leaders on Flood Insurance Bill See Bipartisan Measure
Lawmakers working to beat Sept. 30 reauthorization deadline

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy hopes to get bipartisan support for a reauthorization of the flood insurance program.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Both Democrats and Republicans cited concern about hurting low-income homeowners in legislation that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, but they also agreed that the program, with a current debt of $24.6 billion, needs to be on sounder financial ground.

Lawmakers are working to beat the expiration of the current authorization on Sept. 30. Without new authorization in place, housing markets in coastal and flood-prone areas could be disrupted.

Dodd-Frank Repeal Set Up for House Passage
Rules Committee allows only five amendments

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., is not a big fan of the Dodd-Frank repeal bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A massive bill to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial law and allow better-capitalized banks to opt out of much of government regulation is heading to the House floor for a final vote on passage that is expected Thursday.

Over Democratic objections, the House Rules Committee on Tuesday allowed only five amendments that appeared to be uncontroversial plus a manager’s amendment to be considered, and it declined to allow a hearing for a proposal to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act.