Legislative Activity

Senate Banking to Vote on Treasury and Commerce Nominations This Week

This week, on Tuesday, May 23, the Senate Banking Committee will vote on the nominations of several individuals to fill key posts within the Treasury and Commerce Departments (see below for additional details). Last week, Senate Banking Democrats concentrated on potential Trump Administration ties to Russia during the confirmation hearing of the nominees, who – if confirmed – would assume positions related to overseeing financial crimes, foreign investment, and sanctions. Notably, in response to a question from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), all of the nominees agreed that Congress deserves an “expeditious response” to requests for Treasury Department data on financial crimes enforcement. While some Democrats have expressed their disapproval of certain nominees, each one is expected to advance past the Committee for a full Senate vote.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, May 23, the Senate Banking Committee has scheduled an Executive Session to vote on the following nominees:
    • Ms. Sigal Mandelker to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of Treasury;
    • Ms. Mira Radielovic Ricardel to be Under Secretary for Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce;
    • Mr. Marshall Billingslea to be Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, U.S. Department of Treasury; and
    • Mr. Heath P. Tarbert to be Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury

Regulatory Activity

CFTC Announces New Focus on FinTech

Last week, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Acting Chairman Christopher Giancarlo announced that the CFTC is launching a new FinTech initiative aimed at enhancing collaboration between the CFTC and industry. The new effort involves a website called “GuidePoint,” which will allow FinTech innovators to communicate with the CFTC and a “CFTC 2.0” innovation lab to better understand new technologies and to identify potentially useful applications. This week, the White House is expected to release its FY 2018 Budget, including a funding request for the CFTC; the agency’s budget has remained flat at $250 million since FY 2015.

Fiduciary Rule Again in the Crosshairs During Committee Hearing as Applicability Date Draws Closer

As the Fiduciary Rule’s June 9 applicability date draws closer, House Republicans took aim at the Department of Labor’s (DOL) effort to reduce conflicted investment advice given to retirement savers. During the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions hearing – which focused on barriers to workers and families saving for retirement – Republican lawmakers called for further delay to the Rule’s applicability date in order to allow DOL more time to complete its review pursuant to President Trump’s February 3 Memorandum on the issue (further discussed here).