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May 29, 2024

Capitol Hill Update – Month in Review Newsletter – May 2024

May was a busy month on Capitol Hill. Banking regulators testified during their semi-annual oversight hearings and crypto legislation was on the floor in the House and Senate.

Banking Regulators Testify on Capitol Hill

On May 15th and 16th the Fed’s Vice Chair of Supervision, Michael Barr, the Chairman of the FDIC, Martin Gruenberg, and the OCC’s Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, testified before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees. While the hearing is a regularly scheduled semi-annual hearing to discuss priorities for the banking regulators including increased capital requirements, bank merger policy, climate risk and other issues, this hearing was largely focused on the FDIC and the recently released report on its workplace culture and steps that Chair Gruenberg would be taking to fix the issues at the agency. Unfortunately, this was Washington at its worst where the real issues and victims were politicized for partisan advantage.  Following the hearings, the Chair announced that he will step down once a new Chair has been confirmed by the Senate.

Crypto Industry Favored Legislation Advances Through the House

On May 22nd the House voted on and passed the crypto-friendly Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century (FIT 21) Act. Ranking Member Waters opposed the bill on the House floor before the vote and urged her colleagues to vote no on the bill. Better Markets raised a number of serious questions about the bill that should have been addressed throughout the process before it received a floor vote. These questions include how this legislation could create additional loopholes for the traditional financial sector, the ability of the CFTC to regulate the crypto market without adequate resources, and the crippling of the SEC’s authority to properly police the securities market. Better Markets will continue to raise these questions as the bill moves throughout the legislative process. Read our fact sheet here and letter to House leadership here.

House Hearing on SEC Enforcement

On May 7th, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on SEC enforcement. During the hearing the House Majority attacked the SEC’s enforcement division for what they claimed are unclear rules of the road and overreach by the agency. Ranking Member Waters defended the agency, highlighted the lawlessness in the crypto industry, and pointed to the SEC’s excellent track record against the crypto industry and other lawbreakers. For more on the SEC’s enforcement record, read Better Markets’ recent report entitled “The SEC’s Enforcement Program Has to Start Meaningfully Punishing Individuals.”



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