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WEEK IN REVIEW


Washington, Nov 18 -

Committee Hears Testimony of SEC Chair

Members of the Financial Services Committee questioned Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White about the SEC’s agenda and budget request, a day after it was reported that Chair White plans to step down at the end of President Obama’s term.

Republicans on the committee warned Chair White against rushing out “midnight regulations” in the Obama administration’s final days.

“I would strongly urge you to respect the results of last week's election and resist the temptation to finalize any regulations, including Dodd-Frank [rules], in deference to the right of the incoming administration to set its own priorities upon taking office in January,” Investment News quoted  Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in its coverage of the hearing.

In response, Chair White “told the committee firmly there would be no surprise rulemakings or ramming pending rules through to completion,” Reuters reported.

Members also questioned Chair White about the SEC’s continuing failure to develop a capital formation agenda, which is part of its mission.

“Despite the SEC having an important mission to facilitate capital formation, the SEC, I believe, has still not organically – within itself – developed a capital formation agenda and, instead, has relied almost exclusively on our committee and Congress when it comes to trying to modernize some of those areas of securities laws for the benefit of the small and medium sized enterprises,” said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also questioned Chair White about the “cumulative impact of all these regulations” on capital formation and economic growth.

Chair White responded that SEC economists study the economic impacts of rules and acknowledged “one of the costs may be a cost to growth.”

House Votes to Block U.S. Financing for Iran Aircraft Sales

The House voted 243-174 to block U.S. financing for aircraft sales to Iran on Wednesday.  The bill, H.R. 5711 sponsored by Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Bill Huizenga (R-MI), prohibits the Treasury Department from authorizing transactions by U.S. financial institutions related to airplane sales to Iran and bars the Export-Import Bank from extending financing related to Iran.

"I am extremely concerned that by relaxing the rules, the Obama administration has allowed American companies to be complicit in weaponizing the Iranian regime," Chairman Huizenga told USA Today, noting his bill "prevents the leaders of the Iranian regime from having access to the U.S. financial system."

The Treasury Department's decision to allow U.S. banks to finance the sale of aircraft to Iran, after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's initial statement that the U.S. did not have to provide such authorization under the Iran deal, was the impetus for the legislation, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

Subcommittee Discusses Modernizing Appraisals to Benefit American Consumers

The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss necessary changes to the appraisal industry.

“Appraisals are one of the cornerstones of the home-buying process.  Issues that impact appraisers also impact nearly every American buying or selling a home, in rural and urban areas; in high- and low-income neighborhoods,” explained Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO).  “Yet when it comes to the regulatory regime surrounding appraisals, it seems we’re stuck in 1989.”

Members discussed how the current appraisal regulatory regime does not reflect a 21st century marketplace and that the regulatory structure should take advantage of advancements in alternative home valuation methods.

Member Spotlight

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) | Rep. Wagner: GOP Will Renew Fight Against Retirement-Savings Rule 

“I am confident that our Republican-led Congress and President Trump will work together to end this egregious rule,” Ms. Wagner told The Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX) | This Congressman Could Turn the Dodd-Frank Financial Reforms Upside Down

Hensarling is a longtime foe of Obama’s landmark Dodd-Frank legislation. The congressman is championing the Financial CHOICE Act, a radical measure that would scrap most of Dodd-Frank’s highly restrictive measures.

Weekend Must Reads

Wall Street Journal What Dismantling Dodd-Frank Can Do

The sharp rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after Donald Trump’s election could be short-lived, but based on what the president-elect has promised to do it is an accurate assessment of the U.S. economy’s prospects. All through his campaign, Mr. Trump said regulatory relief for the economy was a priority, including the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act. Repeal or thoroughgoing reform of that destructive law is certainly a key step toward an economic recovery.

Investor’s Business Daily  Will Obama Unleash A Regulatory Tsunami On His Way Out?

 When running for office, Donald Trump promised to reduce the regulatory burden on the economy. But before he gets a chance to do so, President Obama will likely add to those burdens with a last-minute regulatory rush.

In the News

The Hill | House GOP passes bill to block aircraft sales to Iran

Washington Examiner | Unified GOP to target Obama payday, retirement advice rules

American Banker | Kashkari's Plan to End TBTF Comes at High Price

Wall Street Journal | House Republicans Ask Agencies to Freeze All Rulemakings

Politico Pro | Fed-bashing Trump has chance to remake central bank

CNBC | US Federal Reserve says will be more open about 'stress tests': GAO report

Reuters| A post-Trump SEC could shake up current policy

Bloomberg | SEC’s White Says She Will Step Aside When Obama Leaves Office

Washington Examiner | Study finds evidence of politics in TARP lending

Wall Street Journal | Insurers Hope Under Trump They Are Deemed Less Important