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August 30, 2023

Capitol Hill Update – Month in Review Newsletter – August 2023

August is usually a slower month on Capitol Hill, as Members of Congress spend the month working back home in their districts. However, there were still a few items of note as Members continue to send letters to regulators and others on several key issues.

Senators Weigh-In On Gambling on Elections
Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Ed Markey (MA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Dianne Feinstein (CA) sent a letter to CFTC Chairman Rostin Benham outlining their concerns with Kalshi’s recent application to allow gambling on elections. The Senators are concerned that widespread gambling would inevitably happen and undermine faith in the country’s free and fair elections. The Senators are joined by a growing list of advocacy groups, experts, and concerned citizens that are also worried about the effect the proposal will have on US elections and democracy. You can read their full letter here, and, if you want lots more information on Kalshi’s proposal, you can read our comment letter here.

Senate Banking Members Send Letter on Bank Merger Policy
Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown (OH) and fellow Committee Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA), Jack Reed (RI), and John Fetterman (PA) joined together to send a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell and Vice Chair of Supervision Michael Barr asking them to reconsider the Fed’s bank merger policy, specifically in how it relates to financial stability. The Senators raised concerns that the current policy only favors large institutions and hurts consumers. Last month, the Economic Policy subcommittee held a hearing on bank mergers to examine similar issues. Better Markets released a fact sheet examining bank merger policy, detailing how the current policy allows dangerous too-big-to-fail financial firms to continue to threaten Main Street consumers and families.

Representative Pressley Sends Letters to Big Bank CEOs
Everyone remembers the tragedy of the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the national conversation about racisim and racial justice it ignited.  Many also remember the many companies, the country’s biggest banks among them, making public pledges to take concrete actions to address and redress some of the drivers of that racism, injustice, and inequality.  However, what was actually, specifically done by those companies and banks remains unclear.  That’s why Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) sent a letter to the heads of the five biggest banks in the country asking for updates on their commitments to racial equity following the murder of Mr. Floyd. Rep. Pressley highlighted the growing racial wealth gap in America and asked how the banks are spending money that they pledged, in some cases up to $30 billion, to combat these issues.  We look forward to seeing and analyzing their responses.  With large bank CEOs expected to testify again in the Fall, we expect the Congresswoman and others to question the CEOs on their commitments and what they have and have not done to fulfill them.



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