banking-and-finance

Congressional Gridlock Plays Central Role in Internet Tax Case
Supreme Court could reshape online commerce nationwide this term

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a bill on the online sales taxation issue last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a major internet sales tax case, and it won’t be the first or last time the justices will try to figure out whether gridlock in Congress plays a role in their decision.

But usually the gridlock is not quite on this scale. The Supreme Court could reshape online commerce nationwide when it decides this term whether to overturn its 1992 ruling that bars states from collecting sales tax from out-of-state vendors.

‘Lenny the Loan Shark’ Leads Opposition to Payday Rule Repeal
Democrats gearing up for one of the biggest fights of the spring

Protesters gather in front of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday. (Doug Sword/CQ Roll Call)

What do Mick Mulvaney, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Richard J. Durbin, Lenny the Loan Shark and progressive groups have in common?

They all appear to be prepping for what is likely to be one of the biggest political fights of the spring — the attempt to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s controversial payday lending rule using the Congressional Review Act.

Senate Passes Bank Deregulation Bill, House May Seek Additions
More than a dozen Democratic senators joined all Republicans

Senate Banking Chairman Michael D. Crapo sponsored the measure that would ease regulations on all but the biggest banks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would be the biggest bank deregulation since 1999 and would roll back parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

More than a dozen Democrats joined the Republicans to pass the bill, sending it to the House, where conservative Republicans may seek to attach further provisions to roll back the 2010 law. Republicans will be trying to straddle the line between the extensive reversal of bank regulation that they seek and keeping on board the Senate Democrats who will be needed to clear the measure.

Opinion: The Attack on the CFPB Threatens Consumers and Ignites a Race to the Bottom
Mulvaney’s zealous pursuit of deregulation also hurts our economy

Comedian Jon Stewart, center, flanked by New York Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, speaks during a press conference on March 5, calling on OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to withdraw his proposal to separate the World Trade Center Health Program from the direction of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health direction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As a congressman, Mick Mulvaney once co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And since being appointed by President Donald Trump to temporarily lead the agency, he has worked to cripple it from the inside.

What he is doing will hurt consumers not once but twice — first, by letting off the hook financial institutions that take advantage of their customers, and second, by giving other companies large incentives to do the same.

Opinion: Under Mulvaney’s Leadership, the CFPB Can Finally Live Up to Its Name
Acting director is steering agency away from unlawful legislating and toward protecting consumers

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before a Senate Budget hearing on the administration’s fiscal 2019 budget in the Dirksen Building on Feb. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mick Mulvaney and I served on the House Financial Services Committee together for nearly four years before President Donald Trump selected him to run the Office of Management and Budget. In that time, we worked together to ensure transparency and accountability across the financial sector.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the Obama administration and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with the promise of being a “strong, independent agency that levels the playing field and protects American families, seniors, students and veterans.” But in practice, the CFPB has been an unaccountable, unconstitutional, politically driven agency that has punished consumers and pushed them to riskier, unregulated financial products.

Banking Debate Splits Democrats, but They Might All Win
Friends or foes hope to capitalize on the topic

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is one of several Democrats who helped negotiate the bipartisan banking bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats might all be winners in the chamber’s debate this week on curtailing some provisions of the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul.

On the one hand, progressives can again prove their bona fides as voices against big financial institutions, while more conservative Democrats on the ballot in 2018 from largely rural states can boast they are making the Senate work to support their community banks.

Fed Chairman Weighs in on Financial Deregulation Bill Set for Senate Debate
Senate set to consider measure on the floor next week

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made his first appearances as head of the central bank before Congress this week.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell used his first appearance before the Senate Banking Committee to endorse the main features of a financial deregulation bill that the Senate is set to debate on the floor next week. 

Powell told the panel Thursday that the “most significant” provision in the bill is the replacement of the Dodd-Frank threshold for stringent Fed regulation of banks. The 2010 Dodd-Frank law put the threshold at $50 billion in assets. The bill would raise that to $250 billion, and reduce the number of banks effected from 44 to 13.

Senate Banking Panel Advances Fed, Two Other Financial Nominees
Economics professor Marvin Goodfriend endorsed for Federal Reserve Board

The Senate Banking Committee has narrowly endorsed the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Banking Committee narrowly endorsed Thursday the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend to the Federal Reserve Board as Democrats complained that the economics professor is more focused on fighting inflation than creating jobs.

Goodfriend faced opposition from Democrats because of what they described as a lack of commitment to the Fed’s goal of supporting maximum employment. His nomination advanced on a party-line vote of 13-12.

Steven Mnuchin Mostly Meh on Market Drop
Treasury secretary says Russia sanctions are on the way

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mostly shrugged off the recent market drop. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers Tuesday that he’s unworried about the sharp drop in equity markets in recent days and noted the stock market is still much higher than it was at the start of the Trump administration.

Mnuchin also said President Donald Trump would be able to appoint a regulator next year for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government sponsored mortgage giants, adding that the official would have the power to unilaterally curtail affordable housing programs backed by Democrats.

Latest Wells Fargo Penalties Add Fuel to Dodd-Frank Debate
Democrats fret that banks will get off easy under new Federal Reserve leadership

Sen. Sherrod Brown frets that the new leadership at the Federal Reserve will favor lightening restrictions on banks that have defrauded their customers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are praising former Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen’s actions against Wells Fargo & Co. and questioning whether the Fed will continue to be as tough now that she has left the central bank.

The Fed’s cease-and-desist order released Friday evening, on Yellen’s final day as chairwoman, restricts the nation’s third-largest bank to the $1.95 trillion in total consolidated assets it had at the end of 2017, a move the company estimates will cut its earnings this year by between $300 million and $400 million. The company had a net income of $22.2 billion in 2017.