Financial Services

Democratic Caucus oversight discussion does little to resolve impeachment divisions
Some members still want to press ahead, while others still aren’t convinced impeachment is best path

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., departs Wednesday after meeting with House Democrats to discuss possible impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:11 p.m. | A Wednesday morning discussion by House Democrats on oversight matters did little to resolve a stewing intraparty debate about whether to open an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, but it did set off the president.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi organized the meeting to continue to hold her caucus back from heading down an impeachment path with an unknown outcome that could backfire on her party. As she left the discussion to go to the White House to meet with Trump on infrastructure, she had harsh words for the president.

Federal money hasn’t reached disaster victims
Long after hurricanes, red tape leaves relief aid unspent

A man rides a bike in Loiza, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria in 2017. The island’s nearly $20 billion in aid from a Department of Housing and Urban Development program has been mired in a clunky bureaucratic process. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images file photo)

It’s been more than a year and a half since Hurricane Maria laid waste to Puerto Rico in September 2017, killing roughly 3,000 people and causing an estimated $90 billion in damages.

But federal money for any long-term rebuilding has yet to reach those in need in the U.S. territory, which was also battered by Hurricane Irma that same month.

Marijuana legalization goes mainstream with first-ever forum in Capitol complex
Event highlights growing bipartisan support for banking, farming, medical and social justice bills

Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, is the co-sponsor of a bill that would allow states to craft their own cannabis policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The cannabis industry investors, business owners and legalization advocates had met before to discuss the legal and regulatory headaches of operating in a world that’s licensed and regulated by states but illegal under federal law.

But what made those at Tuesday’s gathering describe it as a public relations milestone was the location: inside the Capitol complex.

Democrats divided over whether it’s time to open impeachment inquiry
Caucus to discuss the matter during a special meeting Wednesday

Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky is among the Democrats who do not think it is quite time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:50 p.m. | House Democrats are divided over whether they should open an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with top leaders still hesitant to do so even as more rank-and-file members say it’s time.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called a special caucus meeting Wednesday morning to discuss oversight matters, including the impeachment question, several members said.

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.

Road ahead: Will Congress get a disaster relief deal before Memorial Day?
House and Senate will keep full schedules as budget talks continue for this week and beyond

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will join their fellow congressional leaders to discuss the budget and the need to lift the country’s debt limit with the administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The big question for the week is whether Congress will actually act on long-awaited disaster relief before lawmakers head out for Memorial Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said such a vote is on the floor agenda for this week, but as senators left Thursday afternoon for the weekend, there was still no final agreement on any bipartisan package.

Disney should pay workers higher wages, founder’s granddaughter says
Disney told lawmakers The Walt Disney Co.’s pay practices don’t align with “the values my family taught me

Abigail Disney speaks onstage during the 32nd Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast at Marriott Marquis on May 14, 2019, in New York City. On Wednesday Disney told lawmakers the Walt Disney Co.’s pay practices don’t align with “the values my family taught me.” (Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The New York Women’s Foundation)

Activist and filmmaker Abigail Disney told lawmakers The Walt Disney Co.’s pay practices don’t align with “the values my family taught me” and that the media business her grandfather built should be paying workers higher wages.

“Disney could lead once more,” said Disney — an heir to the family fortune — on Wednesday during a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing. “All it lacks, ironically, is the imagination to do so.”

Trump’s tax return battle will be fought in court, Mnuchin says
‘We haven’t made a decision but I think you can guess on the way we’re leaning on our subpoena,’ Mnuchin told appropriators

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin prepares to testify during the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on April 9, 2019. On Wednesday Mnuchin was quizzed over releasing President Donald Trump’s tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday he expects the courts will resolve the conflict between the administration and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal over the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

“This will go to the third branch of government to be resolved,” Mnuchin said Wednesday during questioning before the Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

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.

Road ahead: House health care week again, as Senate tackles contentious nominations
House Democrats also voting on Equality Act, which will mark passage of half of their top 10 bills

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is lead sponsor of the Equality Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s health care week, part two, in the House as the chamber will vote on a package of seven bills designed to strengthen the 2010 law and lower prescription drug prices — after passing a measure last week that Democrats said would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

But the health care package won’t be the only marquee legislation on the floor this week. Democrats will be halfway through advancing their top 10 bills out of the House after a vote on HR 5, the Equality Act.