Legislative Activity

Senate Banking Committee Likely to Markup GSE Reform Bill

It appears as if the Senate Banking Committee is likely to hold a markup of legislation to reform the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), the “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013” (S. 1217), this week; however, given the fluid nature of the situation, the Committee has yet to officially schedule the markup. As mentioned in previous coverage, the markup was originally scheduled for April 29, and was postponed to allow for more time to gather additional support for the legislation. Since being postponed, the Committee leadership has worked to shore up additional votes to report the bill out of Committee with strong bipartisan support. News sources suggest that the Committee leadership has the support of 12 Committee members. However, unless the Committee leadership is able to gather support from additional key Democratic Senators in the Committee, the bill faces an uncertain future on the Senate floor.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, May 13: The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing titled, “High-Frequency and Automated Trading in Futures Markets.”
  • Wednesday, May 14: The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Strengthening Oversight and Integrity of the Financial Markets: FY 2015 Resource Needs of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.”

Regulatory Activity

FHFA Director to Discuss Future of Fannie and Freddie

On Tuesday, May 13, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt will attend an event hosted by the Brookings Institution to have a “conversation” about the future of the GSEs. During the event, Director Watt will have an opportunity to offer his vision for the GSEs’ future role in the housing market, particularly as the  status of the GSE reform bill in the Senate remains uncertain. Director Watt will also have an opportunity to provide insight into the FHFA’s goals for the GSEs.

FSOC Releases Annual Report

On May 7, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) approved its 2014 Annual Report, highlighting potential emerging threats, as well as ongoing and upcoming reforms.  Specifically, the Annual Report focuses on the following areas, among others: (1) the tri-party ripo market; (2) data gaps; (3) operational risks; (4) GSE reform; (5) new financial products; (6) large, complex, interconnected institutions; and (7) reference rates.

Additionally, after approving its Annual Report, FSOC briefly discussed recent improvements to its transparency policy, which it decided to modify in response to criticism from Congress and various regulators.  FSOC will now publish an agenda for its meetings before they occur and will publish a brief summary of its meetings immediately after their conclusion.