Legislative Activity

Senate Confirms Three CFTC Commissioners, House To Take Up CFTC Reauthorization Bill

On June 3, the Senate confirmed Timothy Massad as Chairman and Sharon Bowen and J. Christopher Giancarlo as Commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Chairman Massad was sworn in to his new office on June 5. It is expected that Mr. Giancarlo and Ms. Bowen will be sworn in as Commissioners in the near future.

Additionally, on June 6, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) released a memo outlining the House’s priorities for the month of June. Among these priorities is a planned vote on H.R. 4413, a bill to reauthorize the CFTC. The bill, which would scale back regulations for end-users of futures and swaps, was passed by a bipartisan voice of the House Agriculture Committee on April 9. The Senate has yet to introduce a companion bill.

Levin Plans Hearing on High-Frequency Trading

It is expected that the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing on high-frequency trading on June 17. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) is currently seeking more information on high-frequency trading from the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Senate Banking Leaders Continue Efforts For GSE Reform

On June 2, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) to discuss bringing the government-sponsored entity (GSE) reform bill to the Senate floor for a vote. The bill, which was approved by the Senate Banking Committee on May 15 (13-9 vote), has yet to garner sufficient support for Leader Reid to allow it on the floor. While the bill’s future remains uncertain, some of the bill’s advocates such as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) continue their efforts to shore up support for the bill. According to Chairman Johnson, “I’m still searching for the 60 votes, but it will be difficult…I’ll leave it to the leader to find the floor time if there is any.”

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, June 10: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress.”
  • Tuesday, June 10: The House Financial Services Committee will hold a markup to consider: H.R. 4697, the Small-Cap Access to Capital Act; H.R. 2629, the Fostering Innovation Act of 2013; H.R. 4564, the Equity Crowdfunding Improvement Act of 2014; H.R. ____, to reauthorize the Defense Production Act, to improve the Defense Production Act Committee, and for other purposes; H.R. 3770, the CFPB-IG Act of 2013; H.R. 4262, the Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act; H.R. 4383, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Small Business Advisory Board Act; H.R. 4539, the Bureau Research Transparency Act; H.R. 4604, the CFPB Data Collection Security Act; H.R. ____, the Bureau Guidance Transparency Act; H.R. 3389, the CFPB Slush Fund Elimination Act; H.R. 4662, the Bureau Advisory Opinion Act; H.R. ____, the Bureau Examination Fairness Act; H.R. ____, to place a 6-month moratorium on the authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to make financial stability determinations; and H.R. 4387, the FSOC Transparency and Accountability Act.
  • Wednesday, June 11: The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade will hold a hearing titled, “The Production and Circulation of Coins and Currency.”
  • Wednesday, June 11: The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of the Honorable Shaun L Donovan to be Director, Office of Management and Budget.
  • Wednesday, June 11: The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of the Honorable Shaun L Donovan to be Director, Office of Management and Budget.

Regulatory Activity

FHFA Requests Comments on Changing G-Fees

On June 5, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt announced that the agency plans to collect public comments on several issues related to changing guarantee fees (g-fees). According to the announcement, Director Watt plans to use the feedback to optimize the fee level required both to protect taxpayers and to ensure credit availability. Specifically, the agency seeks comments on what factors it should consider in setting g-fees, what alternatives it should consider beyond risk-based pricing, what impact higher g-fees would have, and what g-fee level would incentivize private-label investors to enter the market, among others. Comments are due by August 4.