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September 28, 2023

Capitol Hill Update – Month in Review Newsletter – September 2023

With the August recess over, Capitol Hill was a busy place this month as lawmakers conducted hearings across a number of important topics, from capital requirements to property insurance to oversight. As government funding is set to run out by the end of the month, Congress remains busy as we head into the fall. 

Senate Confirms Three Historic Members to the Federal Reserve Board
Immediately coming back from recess, the Senate started the voting process on three highly qualified nominees to the Federal Reserve Board. Dr. Philip Jefferson to be vice-chair and Drs. Lisa Cook and Adriana Kugler to be Governors. With the confirmation of Drs. Jefferson, Cook, and Kugler, we finally have a Fed Board that reflects America’s diversity. Dr. Kugler is the first Latina to serve on the Fed Board and brings an immense amount of experience and expertise to the Fed. A detailed overview of the Vice Chair and Governors can be found here. 

Senate Hearing on Property Insurance
On September 7th, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing entitled “Perspectives on Challenges in the Property Insurance Market and the Impact on Consumers.” During this hearing, Senators heard from witnesses on how the climate crisis is increasing insurance rates and driving out companies from areas of the country that have been most impacted by climate change. In August, Better Markets released a report to bring attention to an untold story behind the insurance and climate crisis: a looming banking crisis. The report explains how losses falling on the insurance companies will eventually fall on the banks and how the banking regulators can mitigate this. You can read our full report here.

SEC Chair Gensler Testifies on Capitol Hill
The Chair of the SEC, Gary Gensler, testified twice this month, on September 12th in the Senate and on September 27th in the House. During the hearings, Chair Gensler answered a number of questions that were top of mind on Capitol Hill, namely about recent SEC final and proposed rules, how to reign in the lawless crypto industry, and climate disclosure related issues. Chair Gensler also defended the agency’s rulemaking pace and highlighted the work that the SEC does in regulating the largest capital markets in the world.

House Majority Attacks Capital Requirements
Earlier this month, the House Financial Services: Financial Institutions Subcommittee held two hearings, “Implementing Basel III: What’s the Fed’s Endgame?” and “A Holistic Review of Regulators: Regulatory Overreach and Economic Consequences.” Both of these hearings were used to attack the proposed rules that would increase capital requirements. As the industry and its allies continue spreading false claims on capital, Better Markets will continue pushing back and make clear that well-capitalized banks make the banking sector safer for everyone. You can read more on our fact sheet that breaks down the 10 False Claims on Capital, and an op-ed in the American Banker entitled “Well-Capitalized Banks Are Good For Everyone, Except Wall Street CEOs.”  Remember, while the banking industry is trying to fool people into thinking that the threat is from over-capitalized banks, it’s really from undercapitalized banks which enable bank CEO’s to pocket gigantic bonuses. 

Letter to House Leadership on Crypto Market Structure
On September 19th, Better Markets sent a letter to House of Representatives leadership regarding provisions within recently introduced crypto market structure legislation. The letter outlines the key questions about the bill, including how it would impact traditional investor, consumer, markets, and financial stability protections. The letter outlines several issues regarding how creating new market structure rules for the crypto industry can create serious harm to our traditional financial system. We did not take a position on the legislation but wanted to highlight the key issues and questions for members to consider regardless of how the vote.  Be sure to read the full letter here.



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