Chairman Jeb Hensarling

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Posted by Staff on July 16, 2014
Why Are American Taxpayers Financing an Aquarium in Brazil?



A rendering of the Acquario Aquarium in Fortaleza, Brazil (Ex-Im Release)

Brazilians still embarrassed by their team’s stunning loss to Germany in the World Cup will soon be able to seek refuge in this “spectacular aquarium on the beach in Fortaleza,” in the words of Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg.  American taxpayers will be financing the project through a direct loan approved by the Export-Import Bank to the Brazilian state of Ceará. 

Two questions come to mind:

1.    Will the aquarium be the home for the next psychic octopus?

2.    Why should American taxpayers be put on the hook for this?

Here are the deal details:

In October 2012, the Ex-Im Bank approved $105 million in financing to the Brazilian state of Ceará for an aquarium there.  According to the Ex-Im Bank: “An anticipated tourist attraction, the aquarium will boast four floors housing 25 large tanks containing approximately 15 million liters of water and showcasing 500 marine species and 35,000 individual specimens. The aquarium will also feature interactive exhibits, two 4D cinemas, one 3D cinema, and an educational platform dedicated to the research and preservation of aquatic life along the Brazilian coastal regions. When completed, Acquario will rank as the largest aquarium in the Southern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world.”  – Ex-Im Release

Posted by Staff on July 15, 2014

 e·gre·gious -- outstandingly bad; shocking


It pays to have cronies in high places, especially at the Export-Import Bank it seems.

The Ex-Im Bank gave millions in taxpayer-backed loans for Spanish green energy company Abengoa International – while former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) sat on the advisory boards for both.

Here are the deal details:

Richardson joined Ex-Im’s advisory board near the end of 2012, around the same time that two Ex-Im Bank loans benefitting Abengoa were issued.  Those taxpayer-backed loans totaled around $150 million.

As one newspaper noted, “critics say Richardson’s holding a seat on both Abengoa and the Export-Import Bank’s advisory boards is just another example of cronyism at the bank.”

Posted by Staff on July 15, 2014

Inaccuracy #1: “When the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened in 2011, the best available government office space large enough to accommodate its thousand-plus employees was a run-down concrete building on G Street near the White House that once housed the now-defunct Office of Thrift Supervision.”

Facts
The House Financial Services Committee has investigated whether 1700 G Street was in fact the “best available” office space for the CFPB at the time the Bureau opened.  Earlier this year, the Committee requested that the CFPB produce “copies of all documents prepared by the Bureau, the General Services Administration or any private contractor or consultant prior to February 17, 2012 that reference or evaluate the Bureau’s commercial real estate lease or purchase opportunities.”  The CFPB responded that, “in regard to the documents requested, the Bureau has not, to date, found documents that can be responsive to this request.”  

It therefore appears that the CFPB conducted no due diligence before selecting 1700 G Street, so it could not possibly know whether the facility was the “best available.”

Additionally, in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had leased approximately 900,000 square feet of office space in Washington, DC at 400 Seventh Street, SW, known as Constitution Center, and, as was widely reported, soon found that it had overcommitted itself by roughly 600,000 square feet (See, e.g., https://www.sec.gov/foia/docs/oig-553.pdf). The SEC and the building owner then solicited other government agencies to sublease the newly-renovated, Class A space.  Several agencies ultimately moved into the building, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  Prior to February 18, 2011, the date when Elizabeth Warren announced the selection of 1700 G Street as the CFPB’s headquarters (see http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/treasury-department-announces-permanent-headquarters-of-consumer-financial-protection-bureau/), approximately 350,000 contiguous square feet was apparently still available for rent at the Constitution Center site.  This amount exceeds the 312,000 rentable square feet the CFPB ultimately rented in 1700 G Street, and thus would appear to be “large enough” for the agency’s needs.  Two CFPB employees toured the Constitution Center facility, but for reasons unknown, CFPB leadership agreed to rent the 1700 G Street location “as-is” (which Director Cordray has described as “a white elephant” and “a dump”) rather than pursue available space in Constitution Center.  On March 21, 2014, the Committee sought documents from the OCC, SEC and CFPB that might shed light on this decision.  The SEC and OCC have produced all requested records in full, whereas the CFPB has not replied or provided records at all.  

So on what basis and with what support does Bloomberg Businessweek make the claim that the building on G Street was the “best available” real estate option for the CFPB?

Inaccuracy #2: “The U.S. General Services Administration is managing the project.”

Facts: 
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the GSA and the CFPB specifically states:

“CFPB has overall responsibility and approval authority for all aspects of the renovation project, including determining requirements associated with the renovation needs, project scope, schedule and budget.  Subject to the provisions of this MOU, all bridging design considerations decision-making authority (including aesthetic and artistic), shall be vested with the CFPB.”

Under normal circumstances, the GSA manages facility renovation and construction projects for federal real estate in its inventory, but in the case of the CFPB renovation, neither the CFPB nor the GSA own the building that the CFPB has decided to renovate.  The 1700 G Street building is owned by the OCC.  Additionally, the renovation is structured as a design-build bridging project, meaning that CFPB retains full control over the design, engineering, scope and the cost of the renovation.  The CFPB hired Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as its architecture/engineering design firm, and it is this firm that has prepared the bridging design documents for the project.  The CFPB controls the project, not the GSA.  The GSA’s role is to procure and manage a contractor to perform the demolition and construction in accordance with the CFPB’s designs. 

In a pre-proposal conference for potential construction contractors held by the GSA on March 21, 2014, Tyrone Anderson, the GSA’s project executive, said that the CFPB renovation project is “unique for us” because “we don’t own the building, and we don’t control design.”  Additionally, several construction tasks fall outside the scope of the GSA’s contract with the CPFB, and thus will not be undertaken by the contractor procured by the GSA.  For instance, the CFPB plans to replace the building’s data and telecommunications system and furniture, fixtures & equipment (FF&E), but these projects will be handled by the CFPB through separate procurements, not the GSA.

Inaccuracy #3: “The GOP members say their calculations show the renovation will cost $215.8 million.”

Facts:
This figure comes not from Republican members but from an independent report by the Inspector General for the Federal Reserve Board released on June 30, 2014.  This report states in pertinent part:

“Based on the CFPB’s assessed requirements as of June 5, 2014, we currently estimate all-in costs to total approximately $215.8 million.”

(See http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/cfpb-congressional-request-headquarters-renovation-project-jun2014.pdf)

Inaccuracy #4: “The [Inspector General’s] report said the renovation covers 512,000 sq.ft.”

Facts:
The Inspector General’s report cites two square footage estimates, one (350,000 square feet) prepared by the CFPB’s Chief Financial Officer, and the other (512,000 square feet) prepared by the GSA.  But the GSA estimate is for gross square feet (GSF), which in this case covers the total square footage for the entire property.  However, not all of the property will be renovated.  Suzanne Tosini, the CFPB’s Chief Administrative Officer, confirmed in a briefing for Committee staff members on April 16, 2014 that the two underground parking garage levels will not be renovated, stating: “It’s not like we’re renovating the parking garage.” 

Her statement is supported by the bridging design documents created by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which show proposed floor plans for every level in the building except the two garage levels, and by the presentation slides the GSA provided to potential contractors, which also show renovation plans for every floor of the building except the two underground parking garage levels. 

Additionally, the OCC has confirmed in letters sent to its ground-level retail tenants that the building’s retail space will not be renovated by the CFPB.  Using square foot figures appearing in documents provided by the CFPB pursuant to Committee document requests, the actual total square footage being renovated by the CFPB appears to be 365,199 square feet, which is significantly less than the GSA’s gross figure, but tracks closely with the initial estimate of 350,000 square feet from the CFPB’s CFO. 

Inaccuracy #5: “The Republican figures inflate the total price by tacking on $70.7 million for costs such as hiring movers and renting temporary offices to use during the construction.”

Facts:
Because the CFPB has chosen to completely renovate 1700 G Street, it must relocate approximately 1,000 employees and rent another 306,000 rentable square feet from the GSA in a separate building for the entirety of the renovation, which is expected to last three years.  These costs, which include the costs of moving, transportation, rent, utilities and security, would never have been incurred by the CFPB but for the Bureau’s decision to renovate a building it does not own.  These costs incurred by the agency are every bit as relevant as costs associated with demolition and construction, and were included by the Federal Reserve Inspector General in determining the all-in renovation costs.

The Committee calculated the renovation cost per square foot by dividing the total renovation costs estimated by the Inspector General – $215.8 million – by the estimated square footage actually being renovated – 365,199 square feet.  This figure amounts to approximately $590/square foot.

Inaccuracy #6: “Republicans have cast the project as a misuse of public dollars in a time of tight budgets…But the Federal Reserve is self-financed, largely with income on securities such as government bonds, so the amount Congress needs to set aside for the office redo is precisely zero.”

Facts:
Federal Reserve profits are remitted to the U.S. Treasury, so every dollar the CFPB demands from the Fed to renovate its headquarters is one less dollar that could be used to pay down federal budget deficits.  And the only reason Congress is not involved in setting aside taxpayer dollars for the CFPB’s renovation is because the CFPB is, by design, unaccountable to Congress.  Unlike virtually every other agency of government, including those whose mission is consumer protection, the CFPB is exempt from the congressional appropriations process.  Four-story glass staircases, wisteria-covered pergolas, two-story waterfalls and sunken gardens are not the best use of taxpayer funds, whether or not they come directly from Congress.

Bottom Line From the Inspector General’s Report: “A Sound Business Case Is Not Available to Support” the CFPB’s Renovation

The Financial Services Committee will continue to investigate why CFPB leadership decided to commit the Bureau to a quarter billion dollars in long-term lease payments without performing any due diligence, and why it has decided to spend an additional $215.8 million to renovate a building it doesn’t own, an amount that is more than $70 million higher than the building’s appraised value.

The Inspector General points out all this money is being spent by the CFPB even though it “was unable to locate any documentation of the decision to fully renovate the building” and even though it failed to comply with its procedures for obtaining internal approval for the renovation.  Therefore, “a sound business case is not available to support the funding of the renovation,” the Inspector General reports.

The CFPB’s building renovation is not a wise use of public funds, and this lavish spending does nothing to support the CFPB’s core mission of protecting consumers.

[*Click here for July 10 Article Regarding the CFPB’s Building Renovations]

Posted by Staff on July 14, 2014

Americans are increasingly alarmed about Russia’s nationalism and military aggression (just look at this week’s Pew Research poll), but the Export-Import Bank doesn’t seem to care.

In fact, Ex-Im’s financing of Russian projects jumped 177% during Fiscal Year 2013 to a record $580 million.  
(Ex-Im Bank 2013 Annual Report)  

Hardworking Americans taxpayers should be asking why they’re on the hook for Russian oil projects funneled to Vladimir Putin’s cronies while they’re struggling to pay for higher gas prices here at home and NATO issues warnings of further Russian aggression.

Here are the deal details:

  • In June 2012, Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg signed a $1 billion Memorandum of Understanding with state-owned Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.  Hochberg described it as beginning “the process of joint cooperation between Ex-Im and Sberbank.”  In FY2013, Ex-Im worked with Sberbank on a $32.3 million loan involving a Russian petroleum project. – SberbankEx-Im ReleaseEx-Im Annual Report

Making it official:  Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg signs Ex-Im’s $1 billion deal with Herman Gref, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Sberbank


Close ties to the Kremlin:  Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with
Sberbank CEO Herman Gref

Posted by Staff on July 11, 2014

Hardworking American taxpayers, who are paying more for gas (“Gasoline prices at six-year high – AAA”) and “more for almost everything this year” (CNBC), might be wondering why President Obama refuses to approve the Keystone Pipeline but is using their tax dollars to finance foreign corporate welfare -- like the nearly $5 billion in direct loans to help build a venture developed by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company.

This is the same Saudi Aramco, by the way, that one report this week said is “pulling the rug out from under the U.S. gas industry” and has announced plans to spend its money to build 11 45,000-seat capacity stadiums by order of King Abdullah.

Here are the deal details:

In 2012, the Ex-Im Bank provided a record-breaking $4.975 billion in direct loans to help build Sadara Chemical Company, developed by the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco). Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, is the world’s biggest oil company, with total assets reportedly in the trillions. – (Sources:  Export-Import Bank press release, 4/4/13:  “Sadara Chemical Company Transaction is Awarded Ex-Im Bank Deal of the Year”; Saudi Aramco; Forbes; University of Texas)

###

Posted by Staff on July 11, 2014
Committee Seeks Accountability and Transparency at the Federal Reserve

On Thursday, the Financial Services Committee held a hearing to examine H.R. 5018, the Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act. The proposal is the first piece of legislation to arise from the Committee’s Federal Reserve Centennial Oversight Project.

"We do not suggest for a moment that Congress, much less the White House or Treasury, should conduct monetary policy operations. We continue to respect the Federal Reserve’s independence in monetary policy. But that independence and discretion must be paired with appropriate transparency and accountability. What we require today in this legislation is that the Fed use a clear map of its own choosing to set the course for monetary policy and share that map with the rest of us," Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) said.

Other members of the committee also stressed that the Fed’s independence needs to be paired with transparency and accountability, for "an independent Fed shouldn't equal an opaque Fed," said Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL).

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), the sponsor of H.R. 5018, said the bill “lifts this veil of secrecy by increasing accountability and transparency by limiting Fed officials ‘blackout periods’ to discuss policy with Congress, opening the rulemaking process, and requiring the Fed to provide a cost-benefit analysis for every regulation it issues. Additionally, this legislation urges the Fed to adopt a ‘rules-based’ approach to monetary policy instead of the continued improvisation strategy currently being employed. Should the Fed fail to adopt a ‘rules-based’ approach, it would trigger an audit of the Fed’s books.”

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said, “Despite setting regulatory policies that impact millions of Americans, the Federal Reserve – by and large – operates in secret. Congress is all that stands between the central bank’s exercise of power over the financial system and the American people. So it is vital to ensure that the Fed is accountable to the people’s representatives.”

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Sean Duffy | FDIC boss visits Wausau to discuss banking regulations 

"We may have competing interests," said Duffy, a member of the House Financial Services Committee. "We want to make sure we have sound, stable lending. The chairman comes from a little different perspective after going through the crisis and all the stress that has been put on him and the FDIC team. Maybe they're a little more cautious than we'd like them to be right now."

Weekend Must Reads


Daily Signal | Ending Ex-Im Bank is All About Governing

Ex-Im is rife with corruption, doesn’t promote competition, costs taxpayers billions of dollars and threatens American jobs. It’s all about politically connected big businesses getting bigger with help from Uncle Sam. It’s not fair, not necessary, and shouldn’t be a hard decision for Congress.

The Wall Street Journal 
| Free People, Free Markets

The answer to our current slow growth and self-doubt isn't a set of magical "new ideas" or some unknown orator from the provinces. The answer is to rediscover the eternal truths that have helped America escape malaise and turmoil in the past.

Economics One | New Legislation Requires Fed to Adopt Policy Rule

A lot of research and experience shows that more predictable rules-based monetary policy leads to better economic performance. So the Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act is good news.
    On the Horizon 

July 15, 2014 10:00 a.m.
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing

"The Department of Justice’s ‘Operation Choke Point"

July 15, 2014 2:00 p.m.
Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee Hearing

"Examining Regulatory Relief Proposals for Community Financial Institutions, Part II"

July 16, 2014 10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

"Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy"

July 17, 2014 9:45 a.m.
Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Hearing

"A Legislative Proposal Entitled the ‘Bank Account Seizure of Terrorist Assets (BASTA) Act"

  In the News

Wall Street Journal | House Republicans Want Fed to Adopt Policy-Making Rules

Financial Times | Lew challenged over Volcker rule impact

Reuters| Lawmaker questions NY Fed role in U.S. regulatory risk panel

Holland Sentinel | Reps. Huizenga, Garrett release major fed reform legislation

New York Times: | House Republicans Resume Efforts to Reduce Fed’s Power

Politico Pro: | GOP to Fed: More to come

Bloomberg: | Lew Confronted Over Volcker Rule Effect on Bond Liquidity

Posted by Staff on July 07, 2014
The House is in session Tuesday through Friday this week.

On Thursday at 10:00 a.m. the full committee will hold a hearing on legislation to reform the Federal Reserve on its 100-year anniversary.

Be sure to check back here on the Bottom Line Blog -- and sign up for our email updates -- for additional information throughout the week.
Posted by Staff on July 01, 2014

1.    The Ex-Im Bank doesn’t create jobs.

  • Government export finance assistance programs like Ex-Im “largely shift production among sectors within the economy rather than raise the overall level of employment in the economy.” - Government Accountability Office, “Export-Import Bank: Key Factors in Considering Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization” 
  • “[A]t best the Ex-Im Bank creates jobs in export industries by destroying jobs in non-export industries.” – Donald Bodreaux, Ph.D, Professor of Economics at George Mason University
  • “By some estimates, the Bank’s loan guarantees have resulted in up to 7,500 lost U.S. carrier jobs, and up to $684 million of lost income for U.S. airline employees annually. – Delta Airlines

2.    The Ex-Im Bank doesn’t return money to the taxpayers.

  • The Ex-Im Bank’s profits aren’t real.  They are an accounting illusion.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that if the Bank followed more accurate accounting rules, its ledger would show a cost to taxpayers of $200 million/year, or $2 billion over 10 years.  -- CBO Fair-Value Estimate

3.    The Ex-Im Bank fails to help small businesses, even though it is required by law to do so.

  • Congress requires that 20% of Ex-Im’s authorizations go to small businesses, but Ex-Im consistently fails to meet this statutory requirement.  Ex-Im even admits this in its annual report (Page 45):

  • Ex-Im’s subsidies go overwhelmingly to very large corporations like Boeing, GE and Caterpillar.

4.    The Ex-Im Bank uses American taxpayers’ money to help foreign corporations, including businesses that are owned by the governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Of the 50 largest loans or guarantees approved by the Ex-Im Bank since FY2007, 46% of the loans have gone to state-owned companies or to a joint-venture that includes a state-owned company.  

5.    The Ex-Im Bank financed only 1.6% of total U.S. exports in 2013.

  • That’s less than 0.18 percent of the total U.S. economy.
Posted by Staff on June 27, 2014

WASHINGTON -- The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday held an in-depth, day-long hearing focused on the Export-Import Bank.

The Washington Post - Fred Hochberg, chairman of the “embattled” Export-Import Bank, “refused to answer repeated questions” about whether he was aware of a criminal investigation being conducted into bank officials who are accused of corruption and taking kickbacks. The allegations “turned a harsher light on the agency – and fueled the arguments of the bank’s long-standing critics.”

The Daily Caller - There is “a history of reforms being ignored” at the Bank. “Strong questions about Ex-Im’s accountability were also raised” at the hearing. While Ex-Im claims it supports jobs and returns money to the taxpayers, “none of these arguments withstand scrutiny,” a witness countered.

The Guardian - The last time Congress reauthorized Ex-Im in 2012, “Congress insisted on reforms that, critics argue, were not fully implemented.” The CEO of Delta Air Lines pointed out that “state-run airlines owned by rich foreign governments” are being subsidized by U.S. taxpayers through Ex-Im.

Salon - Liberals like President Obama used to condemn Ex-Im “as a slush fund that allows the government to fund a series of nasty activities."  Now “Democrats have rushed to Ex-Im’s aid,” ignoring their earlier criticisms, for example, of “how Enron…benefitted from $675 million in Ex-Im loans.”

Washington Examiner - Victims of Ex-Im include “domestic competitors of the very few U.S. businesses to get subsidy exports,” including U.S. semiconductor makers who compete against foreign semiconductor makers “who get Ex-Im subsidies.”
 
NPR - Committee members noted Ex-Im “sends taxpayer dollars to economic competitors of the U.S., that its loan guarantees amount to crony capitalism and that its biggest beneficiaries are some of the biggest multinational companies” in the world.

Reuters - Ex-Im’s future was cast into doubt after it was held up as “an example of corporate cronyism that benefits multi-nationals at the expense of taxpayers and many small companies.” Also discussed at the hearing was a report that four Ex-Im officials “had been suspended or removed” after investigators began looking “into charges of improper gifts and kickbacks.”
 
AP - Wednesday’s hearing began with criticism that Ex-Im gives foreign airlines “a competitive advantage,” unfarily using the “full faith and credit of the United States” to “the detriment of U.S. companies and their employees.”

###

Posted by Staff on June 27, 2014
In the News | The Committee on Financial Services Committee Seeks Openness and Transparency at FSOC

On Tuesday, the full committee held an oversight hearing with Treasury Secretary Lew on the activities of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).

Under questioning from Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Secretary Lew admitted that he could not say the Dodd-Frank Act ended "Too Big to Fail" as Democrats promised.

"Can you tell this committee today with an honest, straight face that we have ended 'Too Big to Fail'?" Chairman Hensarling asked.

"I'm not sure we'll know the answer to that question until we have the next financial crisis," Secretary Lew responded.

At the hearing, Chairman Hensarling and other members of the committee also called for greater openness and transparency at FSOC.

"The reason transparency and accountability are so important is because FSOC can designate practically any large financial firm in our nation as a Systemically Important Financial Institution, a SIFI, and thus render effective control over it. Thus, it has the ability to render great damage to our economy and set back the dreams of tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans who are counting on their capital markets to work for them," Chairman Hensarling said.

Earlier this month, the committee passed bills to make FSOC more accountable and transparent and to place a one-year "timeout" on its designations of non-bank institutions as "systemically important."

Export-Import Bank: Corporate Necessity or Corporate Welfare?

On Wednesday, the committee held a hearing to examine the role of the Export-Import Bank.

"If you’re a politically-connected bank or company that benefits from Ex-Im, no doubt you would like it to continue. After all, it’s a sweetheart deal for you. Taxpayers shoulder the risk and you get the reward. But if you work at a small business or other American company competing in the global marketplace, it’s unfair. Ex-Im effectively taxes you while subsidizing your foreign competitors," said Chairman Hensarling.

Captain Lee Moak, President of the Air Line Pilots Association, noted throughout his testimony "we have lost jobs" because of "our own government policy" at Ex-Im. "It's one thing competing in the free marketplace. It's another when our government subsidizes our competitor," Captain Moak said.

In his questioning of Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg, Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) said Eastern Kentucky has lost 7,000 coal jobs as a "direct result of the regulatory assault" of the Obama Administration. "My question to you is why on earth - if you're about creating jobs - why are you aligning yourself with a job-killing agenda?"

Subcommittee Examines the SEC's Division of Trading and Markets 

On Thursday, the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the SEC's Division of Trading and Markets.

"Let me provide perhaps just two specific areas that I would like to see more attention from the commission," Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said. "First, the world is vastly different, we all agree, from 1975, when Congress amended the Exchange Act in response to one dominant equities exchange at the time. We live in a world of demutualized exchanges, where all market centers are for-profit, providing similar functions, yet they're competing under very different regulatory umbrellas. The SEC should take the time, therefore, to thoroughly analyze the situation and eventually make changes that put their varying market participants on, as they always say, a more level playing field. Secondly, Reg NMS, as the order protection rule is a very heavy-handed rule dictating explicitly how venues and orders are supposed to interact with each other in the marketplace. Now, this has been highlighted by a number of the commentators, including some of our previous panelists here, as one of the significant factors underlying market practices and also behavior."

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Rep. Mick Mulvaney | "In 32 Seconds, Mick Mulvaney Boils Down the Debate Over Ex-Im Bank" 

Who do you trust—a government agency justifying its existence or a private business trying to compete? That’s the question Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) posed at Wednesday's Financial Services Committee hearing on the Export-Import Bank. In just 32 seconds, Mulvaney explains why he’s siding with the free market.

Weekend Must Reads


Washington Examiner | Examiner Editorial: Why some Democrats would like to limit congressional oversight

Democrats fear that Congress is moving in the direction of correcting the monumental mistake it made when it created CFPB in 2010 and exempted it from congressional oversight of its budget.

The Wall Street Journal | The Fed Needs to Return to Monetary Rules

As the Federal Reserve's large-scale bond purchases wind down, financial markets and policy makers now are focused on when the Fed will move to increase interest rates. There is a more fundamental question that needs to be answered: Will the central bank continue its highly interventionist and discretionary monetary policies, or will it move to a more rules-based approach?

    In the News

The Washington Post | U.S. Export-Import Bank chief faces heat from Republicans in House hearing

Salon | Why Export-Import Bank politics are so perverse

Washington Examiner | Delta Air Lines' Export-Import Bank proposal: Stop giving subsidies to our foreign competitors

NPR | Conservative Critics Lobby For An Early End To Export-Import Bank

Reuters | Conservative attacks mount on U.S. export lender, put future at risk

Hot Air | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau already sinking into scandal