Banking & Finance

Proposals Would Help Homeowners, Make Ex-Presidents Pay for Office Supplies
Financial Services spending bill amendments also could affect local post offices

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., wants to bar the U.S. Postal Service for expanding its offering of financial services. Other proposed amendments to the Financial Services spending bill would help homeowners with bad foundations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Local post offices would be barred from offering most banking services, homeowners with crumbling foundations would get some help and ex-presidents would have to pay for their own office supplies under proposals to amend the House’s fiscal 2019 Financial Services spending bill.

Proposed amendments also include some of the usual suspects: keeping the District of Columbia from enforcing certain local laws, allowing federally insured banks to take deposits from companies in the marijuana industry, and barring federal funds from being spent at properties owned by President Donald Trump.

Senate Democrats Target Michael Cohen for ‘Selling Access’ to Trump
Former personal attorney to POTUS is key subject in Mueller investigation

Democratic senators criticized former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen for what one called his “side hustle as influencer-in-chief.” (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images file photo)

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, is the target of a new report from Democratic senators who on Friday accused him of “selling access” to the White House through a shell company he formed during the 2016 election campaign.

The senators’ report is based on emails they obtained from Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which signed a $1.2 million contract with Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, for “consulting and advisory services.”

House Panel Advances Bills Aimed at Helping Small Businesses
Rep. Maxine Waters calls bills approved Wednesday an example of “true bipartisanship”

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and ranking member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., have hailed the bipartisan group of bills the panel approved Wednesday. Also pictured, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday approved a group of bills designed to make it easier for small companies to raise capital and relax regulations for investors, or potentially set the stage to make it easier.

Four of the bills would call for studies or reports.

Rep. Bishop Reminds Puerto Rico Oversight Board to Deal Fairly With Creditors
Utah Republican filed friend of the court brief Friday

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, filed a “friend of the court” brief with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit last Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board works to restructure the territory’s debt of approximately $70 billion, a new brief by Rep. Rob Bishop reminds it not to overlook the best interests of the island’s creditors.

The Utah Republican, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, filed a “friend of the court” brief last Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, cautioning in part that Puerto Rico would struggle to return to the capital markets if the oversight board did not “deal fairly with its existing creditors and respect their rights.”

Wall Street Regulator Coddles Big Banks but Clobbers Small Firms
Lenient treatment from the SEC leaves misconduct unchecked

Protesters call for higher taxes on big banks in 2012. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images file photo)

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest financial services firm, has paid $28 billion to settle cases brought by federal agencies in the past 10 years, most of them related to the 2008 financial crisis.

Yet the massive fines extracted from banks like JPMorgan for their role in the Wall Street meltdown have done little to deter other types of misconduct in the decade since, and one reason is lenient treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to our analysis of SEC enforcement records with a Georgetown University law professor.

Democratic Senators Ask If CFPB Nominee Worked on Immigration Policy Separating Children and Parents
Kathy Kraninger’s role at OMB involves oversight of DHS and Justice

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wants to know if President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CFPB was involved in drafting the new immigration enforcement policy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Did President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approve the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to a wave of families being separated near the Southern border?

That is the question posed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to Kathy Kraninger, the program associate director at the Office of Management and Budget whose job includes policy implementation oversight for both the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department, according to the senators.

Despite New CFPB Nominee, Mulvaney Could Be Around a Long Time
Observers see the pick as a strategic move to extend his tenure

The clock is ticking on Mick Mulvaney’s time as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is capped at 210 days. But that doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats could play into the White House’s hand if they plan to delay President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, experts say.

The White House announced Saturday that the president intends to nominate Kathy Kraninger, who is currently an associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, where Mick Mulvaney is the director.

Warren Says Democrats Lack Guts to Take on ‘Billionaire Class’
Comes after she criticized other Democrats during Dodd-Frank fight

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner hold a news conference on Thursday to discuss bipartisan action they are taking to put marijuana legislation into the hands of state lawmakers. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized fellow Democrats who voted for interests of the “billionaire class” over those of most Americans.

“Until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to take on the billionaire class, until we have all of the Democrats who are willing to fight for the American people and not for a handful of billionaires and giant corporations, then it’s going to stay an uphill fight,” she said on The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan’s “Deconstructed” podcast released Friday.

Corker Unveils Plan to Give Congress Power to Stop Trump Trade Actions
Bipartisan bill was filed despite opposition from the White House

Sens. Bob Corker and Heidi Heitkamp are among the leaders of an effort to put new constraints on the imposition of tariffs for national security purposes.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bob Corker followed through Wednesday on unveiling legislation to increase congressional oversight of tariffs applied in the context of national security.

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 grants the executive branch authority to impose tariffs to protect vital interests, but Corker and others argue that President Donald Trump is misapplying the law — using it against allies instead of adversaries.

Sometimes, the Dissidents Do Leadership a Solid
As immigration debate shows, rare House discharge petitions can force the majority out of a self-made jam

A discharge petition filed by GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo has put pressure on his own party’s leaders to strike a deal on immigration — but they may not hold it against him, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It sounds like something that might be overheard at the congressional appliance dealership: Power abhors a vacuum, especially when there’s a political mess overdue for cleanup, and a great tool for fixing all that is a discharge petition.

It’s also an apt summation of what’s going on now with the Republican catharsis over immigration — which is notably similar to what went down three years ago, during the last House majority leadership interregnum, and also to another fabled GOP rift back in 2002.