Week In ReviewPosted by Staff on May 09, 2014
On Wednesday, the full committee marked up several bills designed to grow the economy, create jobs, and relieve the regulatory burden for community financial institutions.
"We received some bad news recently that more than 800,000 Americans, almost a million, left the workforce last month alone. Many simply could not find a job to make ends meet, no matter how hard they tried. Millions of others remain out of work. The latest economic figures show that during the first quarter of this year the economy slowed to a stall, with a barely discernable 0.1 percent annual growth rate," said Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
"So when we, as a committee, have the opportunity to help arrest this trend, to help put Americans back to work, to help create jobs, we have the responsibility to do so and hopefully to do so on on a bipartisan basis. This why our committee has already guided 22 regulatory relief bills to House passage. The vast majority of those bills, once again, have received strong -- not just token -- but strong bipartisan support,” he said.
H.R. 3211, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2013 sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), was agreed to by a voice vote. The markup will continue and final passage of the bills will take place after the upcoming District Work Period.
Committee Holds Oversight Hearing with Treasury Secretary, Raises Transparency Concerns
On Thursday, the full committee held a hearing with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to receive the annual testimony on the state of the international financial system.
Several members, including Reps. Garrett, Royce and McHenry, discussed the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s disturbing lack of transparency and accountability.
Chairman Hensarling said FSOC “should cease and desist” from designating more financial firms as “too big to fail” until there is an opportunity for greater congressional oversight of the council’s decision-making process.
“There is increasingly bipartisan concern about the immense discretionary power that FSOC has and how frankly little transparency it has,” Chairman Hensarling said to Secretary Lew. “I would simply call upon you as head of FSOC to cease and desist with these designations until all of our questions can be answered fully and Congress can exercise its oversight authority over this incredible process,” he said. (Watch the video here.)
Members also expressed disappointment that Secretary Lew could fit only two hours into his schedule to appear at Thursday’s statutorily required hearing.
Because of this unusual time constraint, “there's 20 members of this committee that won't get a chance to talk to you today. That represents roughly 14 million people," Rep Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said.
Rep. Scott Garrett | Federal Debt Not Only Liability Taxpayers On Hook For
It is no secret that Washington's finances are in a dire state. What might come as a shock, however, is that the American people are on the hook for a lot more than just our national debt. Today, nine of 10 new mortgages are insured by you, the taxpayers...The PATH Act is a comprehensive plan for building a mortgage market that avoids the problems of the past. This legislation would wind down Fannie and Freddie and build a new, more open mortgage market based on private capital, not taxpayer guarantees.
Weekend Must Reads
Wall Street Journal | The Feds Target Money Managers
The conceit of the Obama era is that regulators know best in all things, and so the more of finance that can be put under their sway the better. We'll all learn just how wrong that is if regulators bring high leverage and taxpayer backing from the world of banking into the rest of the financial economy.
American Banker | 'Skin in the Game' Rule Unnecessary for CLOs
The House recognized the importance of CLOs to the economy and recently passed bipartisan legislation exempting certain legacy CLOs from Dodd-Frank's Volcker rule. Regulators would be wise to craft a workable solution for the risk retention requirements regarding the CLO market. After which they can perhaps turn their attention to dealing with the actual causes of the financial crisis.
American Action Forum | The Cumulative Impact of Regulatory Cost Burdens on Employment
AAF research finds that for every billion dollars in regulatory compliance, affected industry employment declines by 3.6%.
On the Horizon
The House is not in session next week.
In the News
American Banker | Lawmakers Press Treasury's Lew on Mortgage Servicing, FSOC
American Banker | FSOC Pledges to Disclose More Amid Criticism by Lawmakers
Wall Street Journal | As One-Time Gains Fade, Fannie and Freddie Face a Less-Profitable Future