Legislative Activity

Senate to Move Forward with Confirmations

The Senate is expected to vote on the confirmations of nominees Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Janet Yellen to be Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, within the next two weeks, before the end of the Senate’s December work period. The Senate’s recent rule change, which allows votes on presidential nominations, except those to the Supreme Court, to advance with only 51 votes, instead of the previously required 60 votes, will allow Senate Democrats, with 55 members in their caucus, to quickly move along the President’s nominations.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, December 10: The Senate Banking Committee will conduct a hearing titled, “Housing Finance Reform: Fundamentals of Transferring Credit Risk in a Future Housing Finance System.”
  • Wednesday, December 11: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on rebuilding the American manufacturing sector.
  • Wednesday, December 11: The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing to receive the annual testimony of the Secretary of the Treasury on the state of the international financial system, as required by law. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will deliver the testimony to the Committee.
  • Thursday, December 12: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Assessing the P5+1 Interim Nuclear Agreement with Iran: Administration Perspectives.”
  • Thursday, December 12: The House Financial Services Committee will conduct a hearing titled, “Rethinking the Federal Reserve’s Many Mandates on Its 100-Year Anniversary.”

Regulatory Activity

FSOC To Meet on Monday

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) will hold an open meeting on Monday, December 9. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will preside over the meeting of regulators the day before several of them will vote on a much-anticipated final version of the Volcker rule. The Volcker rule, stipulated by section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), was originally intended to restrict U.S. banks from making certain kinds of speculative investments, or proprietary trades, that do not benefit their customers. However, the proposed Volcker rule has been released for over two years and has faced immense criticism from industry experts, and one can therefore expect the final rule presented to differ noticeably from the proposed rule.

Volcker Rule Gets Final Vote on Tuesday

On Tuesday, December 10, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Federal Reserve Board will hold public meetings to vote on a final version of the Volcker rule. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will meet privately to vote on the final rule on Tuesday. The Comptroller of the Currency, Thomas Curry, will vote as part of the FDIC Board of Directors and signal the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s position on the matter. These votes mark significant progress towards the completion and eventual implementation of the Volcker rule.