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March 27, 2024

Capitol Hill Update – Month in Review Newsletter – March 2024

A number of high-profile Congressional hearings, the State of the Union, and government funding deadlines made March another busy month on Capitol Hill. Fed Chair Jay Powell delivered his semi-annual report to Congress and Members of Congress responded to important updates in the regulatory agencies.

Fed’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress

On March 6th and 7th, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jay Powell, gave his semi-annual report to Congress in both the House and Senate. While these are regularly scheduled hearings for the Chair of the Fed to update Congress on the state of the economy, Chair Powell received questions across a wide range of topics, as Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked about the impact of price gouging on inflation, Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) pressed Chair Powell on housing costs, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) followed up on questions that she asked the Chair last year on his commitment to strengthen regulations and supervision for the largest banks in the wake of the SVB collapse and the need for stronger capital requirements.

Chair McHenry Discusses Better Markets Work During a Hearing

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing discussing the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and other international committees, Chair Patrick McHenry (R-NC) brought up Better Markets past work in calling out the Basel Committee for lowering capital requirements for European banks without public input. Better Markets agrees with the Chair, and highlights how the Federal Reserve did not lower capital requirements for US banks but is working to strengthen them, and is doing so with public input. You can read Better Markets’ full response here.

Capitol Hill Responds to SEC Climate Disclosure Rule 

Earlier this month, the SEC finalized their long-awaited climate disclosure rule. Members of Congress, including Committee leadership, reacted to the finalized rule. Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said that it is “commonsense to add material climate risks to the list of what we already require companies to disclose and establish a consistent framework for reporting greenhouse gas emissions.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), another Member of the Senate Banking Committee, pointed to the drastic changes in the proposed and final rule and called on the SEC now to strongly implement the new rule, “the SEC must now do everything in its power to ensure the rule’s robust implementation so that the rule can make a meaningful difference for investors.” House Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) also raised concerns with the final rule, “Ensuring effective climate disclosures is a top priority for Democrats and I will continue making sure the SEC, under the current leadership and beyond, fills these glaring regulatory gaps.” Be sure to read Better Markets press release on the finalized rule here.

Senators Send Letter to Defend DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule

On March 26th, Senators John Fetterman (D-PA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Laphonza Butler (D-CA) sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in support of rule that would ensure retirement savers receive financial advice that is in their best interest. Better Markets is strongly supportive of the rule and you can read our comment letter here.



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