What to Know in Washington: Bank Crises Get Congress’ Spotlight
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The Treasury Department’s top domestic policy official will tell Congress that regulators stand ready to repeat the extraordinary steps taken after recent bank failures, while noting that small- and mid-size banks play a key role in the financial system.
“We have used important tools to act quickly to prevent contagion. And they are tools we would use again if warranted to ensure that Americans’ deposits are safe,” Nellie Liang, US undersecretary for domestic finance, will tell lawmakers Tuesday in a hearing about recent bank failures and the government’s regulatory response, according to text of her prepared remarks.
Liang’s pledge to repeat, if necessary, federal actions taken to rescue uninsured deposits at two mid-sized lenders that collapsed little more than two weeks ago came alongside an emphasis on smaller lenders. “Small and mid-size banks, including community banks, serve a vital role in providing credit and financial support to families and small businesses,” she will say.
She’ll testify Tuesday along with the Fed’s chief of banking supervision, Vice Chair Michael Barr, and Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Read more from Viktoria Dendrinou and Christopher Condon.
- The FDIC has launched investigations into managers’ conduct in the SVB and Signature failures. “It is worth noting that these two institutions were allowed to fail,” Gruenberg said in prepared remarks for today’s hearing. Read more
- Gruenberg’s agency stuck to its guns and didn’t offer bailouts to keep two lenders from collapsing. Instead, it struck deals with millions of dollars of sweeteners for the acquiring banks that’ve sent their stocks soaring. Read more
- Also in the Senate, a bipartisan group of lawmakers questioned Fed Chair Jerome Powell whether the US central bank exercised its full legal authority to oversee SVB and other midsized financial institutions. Read more
BGOV OnPoint: Bank Failures Get Spotlight in Congress
Today’s hearing comes as Democrats look to restore stricter rules for regional banks and the GOP blames “woke policies” and ineffective supervision by the Fed. BGOV’s legislative analysts provide a visualization of what to know in a new OnPoint.
Also Happening on the Hill
- The House convenes at 10 a.m. and will begin considering the GOP energy package.
- The Senate returns at 10 a.m. to vote on amendments to a military force repeal.
Men Run Most Powerful Committees Despite Rise of Women in House
Men are taking control of most powerful committees in the newly Republican-controlled House at both the leadership and staff levels even as the number of women hit a record level in the chamber.
While women represent almost a third of House members, they hold gavels at only three of the chamber’s 20 standing committees under the fresh Republican majority. Beyond the chairmanships, the majority of those panels will be run by the chairs’ staff of predominently men, who will shape the details of the GOP’s legislative and political agendas.
Bloomberg Government analyzed the elected committee leadership and top staff members for each party for the House’s 21 committees. The people in these positions of power influence which bills advance, what hearings are held to spotlight topics, and which witnesses are called to testify.
Republicans Take Fight to Democrats on Energy Project Regulation
House Republicans are set to pass legislation that would expand domestic energy production, challenging fierce resistance from Democrats who warn it would undermine billions in federal clean-energy projects and harm vulnerable communities.
Anti-ESG Investing Effort Pivots to New Republican-Backed Bill
House Republicans are continuing their crusade against a Labor Department rule on environmental, social, and governance retirement investing despite failing to override President Joe Biden’s veto of a resolution to kill it.
Farmer-Lawmakers Reap Criticism Over US Subsidies They Oversee
Twenty-five members of the House received a total of more than $14 million in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2021, a nonprofit research organization reported, decrying what it called a “windfall from taxpayers’ pockets.”
Hospital Price Disclosure Rules Face Scrutiny in House Hearing
Hospitals’ compliance with US price transparency rules will be under the microscope when lawmakers question health experts and advocates in a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing in Washington today.
Senators to Seek Alternatives to ‘Civil Death’ of Guardianship
When the Senate Special Committee on Aging gathers Thursday to examine the nation’s fractured guardianship system, one prime focus will be to find ways to eliminate unnecessary guardianships by turning to less onerous options.
House GOP Lawmaker Subpoenas Blinken Over Afghan Document
House Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has signed a subpoena that will be delivered to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on a letter that highlighted internal dissent over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to a statement.
Elections, Politics & Probes
Trump’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Gripe About Probes Is Backed by 80% in GOP
Four out of five Republicans consider the myriad investigations into Donald Trump as “a witch hunt,” a phrase the former president routinely deploys to undermine the cases, according to a new poll.
Ivana Trump’s FBI File Reveals Probe Into Her Czech Connections
Trump’s first wife, Ivana, was under an FBI counterintelligence inquiry into allegations about her connections in her home country of Czechoslovakia in the 1990s, according to excerpts from her FBI file obtained by Bloomberg News.
Fox Fires Producer Who Said Dominion Testimony Was Coerced
Fox News fired a producer who claimed she’d been coerced to give false deposition testimony in the $1.6 billion defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s broadcasting of 2020 election-fraud claims.
Around the Administration
- Biden at 1:25 p.m. tours Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturer in Durham, N.C. At 2:30 p.m., he gives a speech about his agenda resulting in job growth and investment. Biden returns to the White House at 5:05 p.m.
Biden Condemns Nashville Shooting, Calls for Assault Weapons Ban
President Joe Biden again called on Congress to ban assault weapons and take other steps to address gun violence following another deadly school shooting, this time in Nashville. “We have to do more to stop gun violence,” the president said Monday.
Last year, when Democrats controlled both chambers, Congress passed the first nationwide gun-control legislation in 30 years, implementing changes to improve the national background-check system for gun purchasers under 21, and close the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” But further gun restrictions are unlikely to pass the now Republican-controlled House.
- Biden ordered all flags to fly at half staff at the White House and at public and military grounds in the US and its territories until March 31, according to a White House statement. Read more
Biden’s Southwest Border Strategy Threatened by GOP-Led Lawsuit
More than 22,500 migrants from Central and South America were admitted in February under humanitarian parole. A challenge to its use of the policy could instantly reshape the president’s agenda and dilute his authority to act.
US Spy Agency Cyber Chief Warns TikTok Is China’s ‘Trojan Horse’
Rob Joyce, the head of the US National Security Agency’s cybersecurity arm, said popular video-sharing app TikTok is China’s “Trojan horse” and poses a long-term, strategic cybersecurity concern.
Lockheed Hypersonic Missile Test Marred by In-Flight Data Loss
The second test flight of Lockheed’s hypersonic missile prototype was marred by a failure to transmit in-flight performance data, two people familiar with the results said, a setback for US efforts to catch up with China and Russia in a key weapons capability.
Kim Jong Un Threatens Nuclear Use Anytime as US Carrier Arrives
Leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea is ready to use nuclear weapons “anytime and anywhere,” delivering a new threat as a US aircraft carrier group arrives in South Korea.
Pentagon Denies Claim for Soldier Behind New Malpractice Policy
He inspired a law that allows troops to file claims with the military services for medical malpractice. But Army Green Beret Richard Stayskal, who suffers from Stage 4 lung cancer, got a dose of bad news: the Army denied his own claim, according to his attorney.
Key Medicare Panel Targets Rate-Setting Process for Private Plans
A congressional advisory panel is exploring possible options to overhaul the way Medicare managed care plans are paid because their enrollment of less-costly beneficiaries is leading to excess payments.
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