Banking & Finance

Bipartisan Breakout Gives Vulnerable Senators Wins Ahead of Recess
VA and banking bills headline measures heading to President Donald Trump

Sen. Jon Tester is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Some of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents will be scoring big legislative victories just in time for the Memorial Day parades.

The most timely outbreak of bipartisanship will come with passage, expected Wednesday afternoon, of a bill designed to improve health care access and options for veterans, known as the VA MISSION Act.

For GOP, Death of Manufacturing Loan Program Finally in Sight
Unspent money dating back years makes it an easy, yet still elusive, target

Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is no fan of the loan program for energy efficient vehicles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One way or another, the Energy Department’s direct loan program for fuel-efficient car manufacturers looks destined for the chopping block.

Once viewed as a lifeline for Detroit’s “Big Three” manufacturers facing economic headwinds even before the onset of the Great Recession, the program is now little more than a kitty of untapped funds appropriated a decade ago. The last major Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program loan was approved conditionally in 2015, but Arconic Inc., whose former parent Alcoa secured the loan to produce lightweight vehicle materials at its Tennessee plant, turned the money down last year.

Ahead of NRA Speech, Cruz Bashes Big Banks Over Restrictions on Guns
Texas Republican expected to speak after Pence, Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among the scheduled spears at Friday’s NRA convention. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of his own speech to the National Rifle Association Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz was focused on a pair of big banks that are imposing restrictions on firearm sales conducted by their business partners.

“Under this new policy, we will require new retail sector clients or partners to adhere to these best practices: (1) they don’t sell firearms to someone who hasn’t passed a background check, (2) they restrict the sale of firearms for individuals under 21 years of age, and (3) they don’t sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines,” Citi said in its March announcement of the gun policy changes. “This policy will apply across the firm, including to small business, commercial and institutional clients, as well as credit card partners, whether co-brand or private label.”

Bank Group Plans Midterm Ads, Starting With Tester, Budd
Six-figure ad buys on the way in Montana and North Carolina

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., will get a helping hand from the American Bankers Association in his re-election bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American Bankers Association said Wednesday it would weigh into midterm congressional campaigns for the first time with independent expenditure TV ads, beginning with “six-figure” buys in Montana and North Carolina.

“These ads are a concrete example of our stepped-up political engagement efforts,” American Bankers Association President Rob Nichols told hundreds of bankers at the association’s government relations conference in Washington Wednesday.

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.

Podcast: Banking Deregulation in the Air
CQ on Congress, Episode 95

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., are on opposite sides of a push to relax the Dodd-Frank law passed after the 2008 financial crisis. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CQ banking reporter Doug Sword explains the state of play as Republicans (and some Democrats) try to relax banking regulations enacted during the Obama administration to safeguard against a repeat of the 2008 financial meltdown.

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.