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February 28, 2024

Capitol Hill Update – Month in Review Newsletter – February 2024

Both Chambers of Congress had an extended recess during February for Presidents’ Day, but there were still several important hearings and other Congressional activity this month. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivered the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) Annual Report to Congress, and Committee leadership wrote important letters to regulators.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) Annual Report to Congress:

 The FSOC is one of the most important, if most underutilized, tools to come out of the Dodd-Frank Act.  It is supposed to regulate systemically significant nonbanks, the so-called shadow banking system, and be on guard for emerging financial risks to the financial system and livelihoods of all Americans.  On February 6th and 8th, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testified before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees to deliver the FSOC’s Annual Report to Congress. Members of Congress highlighted a number of key issues, including the need for stronger capital requirements and strong regulations to protect Main Street from Wall Street risk-taking. Better Markets also highlighted a number of key topics for FSOC, including important guidance on their authority to supervise systemically important nonbank financial companies. You can read our full fact sheet here.

Ranking Member Waters Leads Letter on Strong Capital Requirements:

Bank capital is critical because it is the only thing standing between a failing bank and taxpayer bailouts.  House Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters led a letter with 41 other House Members to the banking regulators on the need for strong capital requirements for the largest banks. In the letter, lawmakers pointed to last year’s banking crisis as a prime example of why these reforms are necessary and appropriate, as well-capitalized banks can better serve their communities and prevent a financial crisis. Better Markets agrees with the lawmakers and highlighted those concerns in our comment letter to the regulators. You can read the full letter and see all 42 lawmakers that signed-on here.

Senate Banking Committee Chair Brown Letter to Fed Chair Powell on Stock Trading: 

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown sent a letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell this month related to the Fed’s pandemic trading scandal. This letter comes after an IG report was released in late January. In the letter, Chair Brown urges Chair Powell to create a process and develop strong punishments for individuals who violate the policy and use sensitive economic policy information to enrich their own stock portfolios. Better Markets has been a leader in highlighting the outrageous personal trading by some of the highest officials at the Fed during the pandemic and the shocking cover up by the Fed of that activity. You can find more information here.

House Education & Workforce Hearing on DOL Investors’ Best Interest Rule:

On February 15th, the House Education & Workforce: Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee held a hearing on the DOL’s investors’ best interest rule, also known as the Fiduciary Duty rule, designed to protect retirement savers. Better Markets strongly supports the DOL’s rule, as it will protect consumers’ savings from conflict of interests from their financial advisers. Better Markets’ comment letter on the rule can be found here.



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