FSC Majority | Week in ReviewPosted by Staff on August 01, 2014
Committee Passes Federal Reserve Accountability and Bipartisan Regulatory Relief Bills
On Wednesday the Full Committee passed 6 bills to provide transparency and accountability at the Federal Reserve, regulatory relief for the economy, and re-authorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.
The Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act (H.R. 5018) is legislation developed as part of the Committee’s Federal Reserve Centennial Oversight Project launched at the end of last year. Under the bill, the Fed would adopt a more predictable rules-based policy -- of the Fed’s own choosing -- that leads to a healthier and stronger economy. The bill also requires the Fed to share with the public whatever rules-based approach it chooses to adopt. Additionally, H.R. 5018 requires the Fed to conduct a cost-benefit analysis in order to ensure that the benefits of proposed regulations outweigh the costs to the economy.
“The overwhelming weight of evidence is that monetary policy is at its best in maintaining stable prices and maximum employment when it follows a clear, predictable monetary policy rule,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). “This legislation is about accountability and about transparency. It’s not about theory because history shows that when the Fed lets job creators, entrepreneurs, small business people and everyone else know how monetary policy will be conducted, the economy performs better and more people get to go to work.”
Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ), a co-author of the bill, said H.R. 5018 takes “important steps toward establishing a more appropriate level of transparency at the Fed. As things stand now, the Fed’s regulatory activities take place behind a fraternity-like veil of secrecy, obstructing openness, and preventing proper accountability. And when it comes to monetary policy, like the Wizard of Oz, it’s time we bring the Fed out from behind the curtain.”
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), also a co-author of the bill, said H.R. 5018 will lift “the veil of secrecy surrounding the Fed by making it more open and transparent.”
In addition to H.R. 5018, the Committee also marked up four more pro-jobs bills that are designed to provide the economy with relief from Washington red tape.
"So far the committee has passed 38 different regulatory relief bills that will hopefully lead to smarter regulation and greater economic growth. Twenty of them have passed the House, many with bipartisan support. We hope to add at least five more to that list today. We look forward to the Senate actually doing anything, but we would particularly look forward to the Senate taking up some of this legislation," said Chairman Hensarling.
"Again, job number one will continue to be the creation of jobs and economic growth in this committee. These bills are designed to ensure just that," added Chairman Hensarling.
Subcommittee Investigates Discrimination and Retaliation at the CFPB
The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Wednesday held a hearing to question CFPB Director Richard Cordray about allegations of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB. Over the past several months, the Subcommittee has heard shocking testimony from whistleblowers, Bureau officials and an independent investigator on what has been described as a "hostile working environment" and "culture of intimidation and retaliation" at the CFPB.
"People are suffering and feel unprotected at their place of work and we've heard from them. [CFPB] managers have been given unequivocal free reign resulting in a toxic management culture that lacks accountability and trust. Employees fear speaking out and fear asserting their rights lest they suffer reprisals and retaliations. This must change," said Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC).
"The problems are much larger than some modifications to a performance management system. The problem is a CFPB management culture that condones intimidation, discrimination, and retaliation. And if the director has failed to reprimand and remove bad managers, then the problem is also his leadership or lack thereof," said Chairman McHenry.
Chairman McHenry also announced at the hearing that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to probe the CFPB’s management practices and organizational culture. The GAO review was requested by Chairman Hensarling, Chairman McHenry and Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee.
Rep. Bill Huizenga | Santelli Exchange: Fed reform
Rep. Huizenga and CNBC's Rick Santelli discuss the Federal Reserve Accountability and Transparency Act.
Weekend Must Reads
Washington Examiner | The Export-Import Bank socializes risk for private benefit
You might wonder why lawmakers would refuse to acknowledge this reality. For one, politicians are pressured by an army of lobbyists representing powerful companies who are committed to protect their perks even if it hurts everyone else. But politicians are not exactly shrinking violets, here. They like being able to point to the small businesses and American jobs that they “support” through the Ex-Im Bank. What is much harder is to point to the millions of victims of the Ex-Im Bank. Taxpayers, for instance, bear a massive $140 billion exposure so that giant corporations like Boeing and General Electric can make a little more profit each year. Should the bank’s portfolio go south, normal people like you and I will be on the hook.
The Hill | Dodd-Frank doesn’t end ‘too big to fail’
Dodd-Frank's Orderly Resolution plans do not end "too big to fail." The recent House Financial Services Committee Republican report discusses the flaws in these plans. Orderly Resolution plans have been compared to pre-packaged bankruptcies, or blueprints for speedy reorganizations using bankruptcy that will keep financial institutions open and operating and thereby remove the risk of financial instability. On close examination, this analogy breaks down because these plans lack creditor participation. The key to a successful prepackaged bankruptcy is creditor acceptance of a debt restructuring plan before entering bankruptcy. But creditors do not approve Orderly Resolution plans. The plans are kept secret from creditors, and the institutions filing the plans are not even obligated to follow them in bankruptcy.
Wall Street Journal | Liberals Love the 'One Percent'
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said the central bank's goal is "to help Main Street not Wall Street," and many liberal commentators seem convinced that she is advancing that goal. But talk to anyone on Wall Street. If they are being frank, they'll admit that the Fed's loose monetary policy has been one of the biggest contributors to their returns over the past five years. Unwittingly, it seems, liberals who support the Fed are defending policies that boost the wealth of the wealthy but do nothing to reduce inequality.
Wall Street Journal | The Danger of Too Loose, Too Long
The Fed has been running a hyper-accommodative monetary policy to lift the economy out of the doldrums and counteract a possible deflationary spiral. Much of what we have paid out to purchase Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities has been put back to the Fed in the form of excess reserves deposited at the Federal Reserve banks. As of July 9, $2.517 trillion of excess reserves were parked on the 12 Fed banks' balance sheets, while depository institutions wait to find eager and worthy borrowers to lend to.
In the News
Washington Examiner | CFPB opens new investigation in bid to exonerate bureau managers on discrimination
Times Record News | Neugebauer wants to get government out of terror insurance
Wall Street Journal | House Panel Passes Bill to Ease Capital Requirements on MSRs
Real Clear Markets | Dodd-Frank's Birthday Marred By Its Many Inadequacies