This Week in Washington for September 5, 2017
By Dina Ellis and Casey Miller
THE BIG PICTURE
Congress has returned to Washington for what will no doubt be a busy session before the end of the year. On the agenda is passing appropriations bills, raising the debt ceiling, and tax reform. None of these will be an easy feat. One point of contention is funding for a border wall between Mexico and the United States. Despite Mexico reiterating that it will not pay for any border wall, President Trump stated on Twitter that Mexico would pay “through reimbursement/other.” When asked why the U.S. government would shut down over the wall if Mexico is going to pay, President Trump said that he “hope[s] that’s not necessary. If it’s necessary, we’ll have to see, but I hope it’s not necessary.”
Hurricane Harvey swept the south last week, displacing tens of thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana. The hurricane will no doubt put pressure on lawmakers to come to an agreement on the National Flood Insurance Program, which expires at the end of September and must be reauthorized. The House Financial Services Committee already has passed a series of bills reauthorizing the program, and the Senate currently has three proposals that have gained traction. Over 100 Democrats have said that they will not support the reauthorization passed by the House Financial Services Committee because they say the bills do not meet the goals of “affordability, availability, increased mitigation efforts, or improved mapping.”
Commentators expect an agreement to be unlikely and predict that Congress will pass a short-term reauthorization before the September 30 deadline. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is calling for a three-month extension of the current program to give Congress more time to reach a deal. One major insurance group, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, has asked Congress to extend the program for another six months.
Trump Administration Weighing Decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program: The Trump administration is still deciding what to do about DACA, an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Approximately 800,000 people are protected under the program. President Trump said during his campaign that he would end the program.
Chairman Hensarling Sends Letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray: House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling sent a letter on August 28 to CFPB Director Richard Cordray asking Cordray if he intended to stay in his position or could provide a planned exit date. In his response, Director Cordray refused to disclose his exit date to Chairman Hensarling and did not answer the question of whether he intends to serve out his term.
THIS WEEK ON THE HILL
Wednesday, September 6
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, Hearing,
Thursday, September 7
Senate Banking Committee,
Mr. Joseph Otting, to be Comptroller of the Currency; and
The Honorable Randal Quarles, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Reappointment as a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Vice Chairman for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
The Committee will also vote on S. 1463, Financial Stability Oversight Council Insurance Member Continuity Act.
Senate Banking Committee, Hearing, “
Mr. Adam Szubin, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies;
Mr. Anthony Ruggiero, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; and
Dr. John Park, Director of the Korea Working Group and Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Hearing, “
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment, Hearing, “
Mr. Robert Cook, President and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
Other witnesses TBA
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Makes Changes to Reverse Mortgage Program: On August 29, HUD announced changes to its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program. It will increase premiums and tighten lending limits on reverse mortgages. “Given the losses we’re seeing in the program, we have a responsibility to make changes that balance our mission with our responsibility to protect taxpayers,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Fairness dictates that future HECM loans do not adversely impact the overall health of [the Federal Housing Authority’s] insurance fund, which supports the financing needs of younger, mostly first-time homeowners with traditional FHA mortgages.”
Treasury Department Secretary Stephen Mnuchin Dismisses Questions about Revisions to the $20 Bill: In an interview with CNBC on August 31, Secretary Mnuchin dismissed a question about whether the Trump administration would continue with the Obama administration’s plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, saying that it “isn’t something [he’s] focused on at the moment.” During his campaign, President Trump said that he would “love to leave Andrew Jackson and see if we can maybe come up with another denomination.”
NOMINATIONS, COMINGS AND GOINGS AT THE AGENCIES
SEC Announces New Division Heads: The SEC announced on August 31 that two new division chiefs are joining the agency.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
Basel Committee Assesses Impact of Fintech on Banks and Regulators: The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision on August 31 released a consultative document on the implications of fintech for the financial sector.
Paul Hastings’ Government Relations team is monitoring these issues. We help our clients craft strategies to address federal legislative and regulatory matters. Please reach out to us if your organization needs assistance with congressional or regulatory relations.