fintech

Adios, La Loma: Requiem for a Senate-side institution
Mitch McConnell calls it ‘the shutdown we all oppose!!’

La Loma, a popular Mexican restaurant at 316 Massachusetts Avenue NE, has closed. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whether it was the convenient location a short walk from the Capitol, the bustling street-side patio or the tanker-sized margaritas, La Loma carved out a place in the life of Capitol Hill. And just like that, its 21-year Senate-side run on Massachusetts Avenue Northeast was over. 

If any place proved the real estate maxim of location, location, location, it was La Loma. Southwestern natives grumbled about the quality and execution of the fare, but it didn’t matter. Even the rain or cold wasn’t enough sometimes to keep people away from the patio, festooned with its green awning and multihued umbrellas, particularly during happy hour. And when the sun was out, it made for a mad dash to lunch, particularly on the Senate’s semi-workdays, Monday and Friday — and especially during recess. 

What Justin Amash can teach Nancy Pelosi
When it comes to impeachment, congressional Democrats are missing the point

While Justin Amash is going out on a limb, Nancy Pelosi is parsing words. The contrast is striking, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams and Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

OPINION — At worst, Justin Amash will be the answer to a trivia question about which House member bucked a president of his own party to call for impeachment. At best, Amash will someday be hailed as prescient in trying to save the Republican Party from being Donald Trump’s devoted, yet unprincipled, enablers.

Amash’s decision to endorse impeachment was prompted (as he tweeted) by being a rare legislator who actually read the Mueller report. And as a dedicated libertarian who has been a longtime Trump critic, this lonely position fits Amash’s political persona.

Futures product to test Wall Street taste for cryptocurrencies
Startup company plans to start trading futures contracts in bitcoin

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have sought clarity from the Commodity Future Trading Commission on guidelines for cryptocurrencies on the futures market. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cryptocurrencies have been viewed skeptically by some old-guard financial institutions — the head of one bank famously called bitcoin a fraud a few years back — but there’s a new plan to offer derivatives based on bitcoin that may show how deeply Wall Street is adopting new financial technology.

A startup company plans in July to start testing futures contracts in bitcoin, and begin trading them shortly after. The products, unlike cryptocurrencies themselves, aren’t designed for the masses. Bitcoin futures are meant for financial firms that want to find new ways to profit from fintech, and launching the futures contracts is essentially a bet that there’s enough demand from the big players.

Americans may vote in 2020 using old, unsecured machines

Despite widespread concern about the integrity of voting machines and their cyber security, many Americans will vote in 2020 using technology that is old, outdated and vulnerable to hacking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first primary in the 2020 presidential race is a little more than 250 days away, but lawmakers and experts worry that elections will be held on voting machines that are woefully outdated and that any tampering by adversaries could lead to disputed results.

Although states want to upgrade their voting systems, they don’t have the money to do so, election officials told lawmakers last week.

Trump heads to Pennsylvania, where China trade war is hitting home
State leaders: Tariff tussle hurts local manufacturers, farmers and consumers

President Donald Trump, here speaking to reporters on April 27 at the White House, is headed to battleground Pennsylvania on Monday even as his China trade war is hurting farmers and manufacturers there. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump heads to Pennsylvania on Monday evening — another battleground state vital to his chances of winning a second term. But Air Force One will touch down in Montoursville for a campaign rally just when his trade war with China is squeezing many of his core supporters there.

Trump has complicated his own quest to reassemble the Electoral College map he cobbled together in 2016 by slapping tariffs on Chinese-made products, according to political strategists, some lawmakers and state officials. The Keystone State is a prime example as China’s retaliatory levies are hitting its manufacturers, farmers and consumers particularly hard.

Trump order clears path to ban Huawei 5G equipment from United States
Trump signed an executive order that would allow the Commerce Department to bar transactions from Huawei

The Huawei logo is seen on the side of the main building at the company's production campus on April 25, 2019 in Dongguan, near Shenzhen, China. While commercially successful and dominant in 5G, or fifth-generation networking technology, Huawei has faced political headwinds with the Donald Trump administration. On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order that would allow the Commerce Department to bar transactions from Huawei. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order allowing the Commerce Department to stop U.S. companies from doing business with companies “subject to the jurisdiction” of a foreign adversary, clearing a path to bar transactions with Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that officials have labeled a national security threat.

But asked whether the executive order is meant to take direct aim at Huawei, senior administration officials described it as “company and country agnostic.”

The Pennsylvania special election you haven’t heard about
Voters in 12th District will pick a replacement for Tom Marino next week

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., resigned in January shortly after being sworn in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It wasn’t that long ago that a special election in Pennsylvania attracted national attention and millions of dollars. But this year, the race in the state’s 12th District has flown under the radar.

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday to replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned just shortly after the new Congress began. This election hasn’t captured the national spotlight — a marked shift from 14 months ago, when the special election in Pennsylvania’s old 18th District grabbed headlines. Democrat Conor Lamb pulled off an upset there even though President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points in 2016.

This government agency wants to partner with fintech firms. But a gift rule is blocking it
U.S. is falling behind in fintech innovation, regulators warn

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo says current rules prevent his agency from working closely with fintech companies. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

If government employees need new software to test how a financial technology project might work — software they lack expertise to write themselves — they can’t get it from the industry because rules deem such software as a gift and block the government from receiving it.

The result, according to regulators, is the rules are slowing down U.S. innovation in fintech, leaving the country to fall behind others.

2 minutes with CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo
Fintech Beat's Chris Brummer talks blockchain, derivatives and Hollywood

Chris Brummer (left) of Fintech Beat interviews CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo in Washington. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not too late to keep Huawei’s 5G tech out of the U.K., Sen. Warner says
U.S. allies are struggling to balance the need for secure telecom equipment and affording the heavy investment of switching to 5G

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., talks with the media in Russell Building on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. On Thursday he said there’s still time for the U.K. to decide against Huawei technology when building the country’s 5G network. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.K. may still be persuaded to bar China’s Huawei Technologies from building the country’s 5G network, Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters Thursday.

“I don’t think it’s too late,” Warner said. But the U.K.'s decision may be complicated because the country’s existing telecom network already has an “enormous amount of Huawei equipment embedded” in it.