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April 29, 2024

Capitol Hill Update – Month in Review Newsletter – April 2024

Congress was only in session for two weeks in April with Easter and Passover holiday recesses, but there were still a number of important hearings covering crypto, climate, and forced arbitration. Lawmakers also reacted to an important rule from the DOL.

Treasury Deputy Secretary Testifies on Danger of Crypto 

On April 9th, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo testified in a Senate Banking Committee hearing entitled “An Update from the Treasury Department: Countering Illicit Finance, Terrorism and Sanctions Evasion.” During the hearing, Deputy Secretary Adeyemo outlined how terrorist organizations and countries like Iran and North Korea use crypto to fund their illegal activities.  Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) highlighted the need for the crypto industry to follow the same rules and regulations that protect consumers as well as the traditional finance sector. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) brought attention to the issue of what we call “un”stablecoins in the crypto ecosystem. She noted that without proper anti-money laundering protections, any legislation would only make it easier for criminals to access crypto. Better Markets has also explained how crypto’s only proven its use case as a tool for criminals.

House Holds a Hearing on SEC Climate Disclosure Rule

 On April 10th the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing entitled “Beyond Scope: How the SEC’s Climate Rule Threatens American Markets.” The Majority used the hearing to attack the recently finalized SEC Climate Disclosure Rule. Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) rightfully pushed back against the Majority’s attacks and highlighted that the “climate crisis will affect the financial health of public and private companies” and that investors have been asking for this crucial information. Be sure to read Better Markets press release after the rule was finalized here and you can find our full comment letter here.

Senate Judiciary Holds Hearing on Forced Arbitration

On April 9th Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “Small Print, Big Impact: Examining the Effects of Forced Arbitration.” During the hearing Chair Durbin brought attention to how companies use forced arbitration agreements to harm employees and consumers, making it more difficult for them to right wrongs that are done to them. Better Markets agrees and has been fighting against this practice in the financial sector for years. We have joined with other organizations and called upon the SEC to ban this practice for brokers and investment advisors.

Capitol Hill Reacts to DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule

On April 23rd, the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a rule that will protect retirement savers from adviser conflict of interests and save them tens of billions of dollars. House Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), who led a letter with 55 other Members of Congress, applauded the rule saying, “it is way past time for the federal government to close the long-standing loopholes to ensure that financial professionals give advice that is prudent and not harmful to workers, investors, and retirees.” Senator John Fetterman (D-PA), who also sent a letter in support with nine Senators, highlighted the benefits of the rule for retirement savers saying, “Before this new Retirement Security Rule, it was perfectly legal for advisors to give advice that padded their own commissions, even if they knew it would yield worse returns for the saver. That’s just wrong and—thanks to this new rule—it’s now against the law.” Better Markets agrees with the Members of Congress on the positive impact that this rule will have on workers and retirement savers. Read our press release after the rule was finalized here, and a fact sheet on the rule here.



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