Banking & Finance

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.

Debt Ceiling Crunch Will Come in Early March, CBO Says
Extraordinary measures will tide the government over for another month, Treasury predicts

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is pressing Congress to raise the debt limit. In the meantime, he is using so-called extraordinary measures to stave off a funding crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:45 p.m. | The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday said the Treasury Department might make it into the first half of March before running out of cash to pay its bills, or a little later than the date announced by Treasury earlier in the day.

In November, CBO had projected that the statutory debt limit would not be reached until late March or early April. But because of legislation signed into law since the last estimate, most notably the tax code overhaul projected to lose at least $1 trillion in 10-year revenue, CBO is bumping up their timeframe by a few weeks.

White House Backs Expanding Security Review of Foreign Deals

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has concerns that some reviews might hamper legitimate purchases by foreign firms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pending legislation that would expand the reach of a panel’s national security review of foreign business transactions would not discourage foreign investment in the United States or business deals with U.S. companies, Trump administration officials told a Senate committee Thursday.

Heath P. Tarbert, assistant secretary of the Treasury for International Markets and Investment Policy, said bipartisan legislation by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would strengthen one line of defense against adversarial foreign interests gaining access to sensitive military information or important current and emerging technology.

17 of 2017’s Most Popular Stories
A look back at a contentious year on the Hill

President Donald Trump arrives with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for the Republican Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol to discuss the GOP tax reform bill in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans had high hopes of pushing an ambitious agenda forward and making good on last year’s campaign promises.

But their long-held promise of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law stalled in the Senate in one of the most dramatic moments of the year. Infighting derailed other agenda items that followed.

Six Things to Watch as Tax Overhaul Endgame Nears
Final votes could come just before lawmakers leave for the holidays

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says both Senate and House tax plans have “strengths” when it comes to the treatment of income of pass-through entities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of sticking points emerged last week as Republican lawmakers began jockeying for their favorite parts of the House and Senate tax plans.

Top tax writers from each chamber will formally meet Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss their differences, but the real negotiations have already begun behind the scenes.

The Unkindest Cut: How to Pay for Tax Overhaul Sweeteners
Hundreds of billions of dollars needed to pay for sought-after changes

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady is among the top negotiators in the House-Senate conference committee on the GOP’s tax overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As the House and Senate prepare for a conference committee on the Republican tax overhaul, the two chambers face the challenge of reconciling stark differences, and where to find billions of dollars they may need to smooth things over. 

Among the most significant discrepancies are the treatments of pass-through businesses, the estate tax and the corporate alternative minimum tax. House Republicans are also considering a provision to further scale back the proposed trimming of the state and local tax deduction.

Senate Banking Advances Powell Nomination for Fed Chairman
Sen. Elizabeth Warren only senator to vote against recommendation

Jerome Powell earned the support of all but one member of the Senate Banking Committee to advance his nomination for Fed chairman. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Banking Committee voted 22-1 Tuesday to recommend confirmation of Jerome Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren voted against the recommendation.

Powell received the support of Chairman Michael D. Crapo, who had voted against him during his renomination to the Fed board in 2014.

Opinion: Bipartisanship Still Exists and Financial Reform Is Proof
Senate bill isn’t perfect, but it can have a lasting effect

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will mark up a bipartisan bill this week. From left, Chairman Michael D. Crapo, Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, ranking member Sherrod Brown and Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz prepare for a hearing in July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As U.S. politics descends ever further into partisanship, there are still signs that old-fashioned legislating is not dead. This week, the Senate Banking Committee will mark up one of the first significant pieces of financial regulatory legislation in years with real bipartisan support. That means an opportunity for lasting, incremental progress that we should welcome.

The proposed bill, which has 10 Republican and 10 Democratic co-sponsors, would not revolutionize the U.S. financial regulatory system, and that’s a good thing. The Dodd-Frank Act and other post-financial crisis reforms have made the financial system and Americans safer overall, but like most major reforms, they have also created unintended consequences. The Senate bill would address some of these, while retaining the overall post-crisis framework that is generally working.