Financial Services Report

Our Take

Dating back to 1862, and every year since 1886, the Senate has read President George Washington’s Farewell address.  It is worth reading and thinking about our first President’s writing – both for its sage advice, but also as a reminder that many of the political ills that cloud our government today date back to the founding.
That said, some of his letter seems especially prescient today.  For example, he states that,


Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

A week that started with policy developments on immigration, the White House’s budget priorities, and infrastructure ended with a renewed push for gun control legislation and indictments in the Russia probe after a whirlwind news cycle in Washington. The response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff on Wednesday continued through the weekend as gun control advocates hope that the most recent episode of gun violence will force Congress to take up the issue. While a few prominent Republicans — namely Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — have offered some openness on the issue, it does not appear to be on the immediate agenda for lawmakers.


Financial Services Report

Looking Ahead

Near Term

  • The Senate floor will be consumed by the immigration effort, and there are no hearings scheduled in the Banking Committee.
  • There are two major financial services bills coming up on the floor of the House.  First is the so-called “TRID” bill that will amend the CFPB’s rule for mortgage disclosure.  Second, is the “Madden Fix” or “Valid when Made” bill that would bring some level of certainty to credit markets roiled by the Midland v. Madden decision.   If this legislation, which will come up under a rule, is to have a chance for inclusion in the Senate reg relief bill its proponents will need to run up the Democratic votes on the floor.
  • Even though the budget deal from last week made the President’s budget more moot than in most years, this week marks the start of budget week with numerous officials coming to the Hill to talk about the Administration’s policy priorities. 
  • As part of this effort, Secretary Mnuchin will again pull double duty on the Hill testifying before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • OMB Director Mulvaney also heads before the House Budget Committee on Tuesday where we suspect he might receive a question of two about his other role as Acting Director of the CFPB.
  • The House Financial Services Committee holds multiple hearings this week.  First the Financial Institutions Subcommittee holds a hearing Wednesday morning on data breach that could provide insight into the draft bill they are working on.  Then later that afternoon the Capital  Markets Subcommittee has a hearing on derivatives
  • On Thursday the FI subcommittee holds another hearing on de-risking, while the Terrorism Financing Subcommittee holds a hearing that afternoon.


Today on the Hill: Immigration Talks Stall; House to Consider Madden Fix, TRID Reform Bills

Floor negotiations seeking to solve the immigration divide have stalled in the Senate as the two sides appear distant from a deal that would provide permanent legal status for the Dreamers in exchange for border security and other immigration reforms. The plan endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the President has no support from Democrats, who oppose significant changes to family migration and the diversity visa program. In a troubling sign for the state of negotiations, senators seem to be entrenching their stances and blaming the other side, with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) telling reporters yesterday that the current Republican plan is a “pretty sweet bipartisan deal” and that Republicans will be “looking pretty good from a PR standpoint” if Democrats do not come on board.


Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

A landmark week in Washington was punctuated by the passage of a massive bipartisan budget deal that funds the government until March 23, suspends the debt ceiling until 2019, raises strict budget caps by almost $300 billion over two years, and offers billions in funding for health care, defense, disaster relief, infrastructure, child care, and education.  The deal will serve to break a months-long stalemate over budgeting that has plagued the appropriations process, and could result in an omnibus finally being passed in March.


White House Economic Advisers Release Drug Pricing Proposals

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a white paper addressing prescription drug prices, detailing the administration’s plans to “reduce the price Americans pay for biopharmaceutical products” and “rais[e] innovation incentives for products in the future.” The 30-page proposal has significant implications for stakeholder across the health care spectrum, as it offers wide-ranging policy changes impacting Medicare drug reimbursement (both Part B and D), Medicaid drug rebates, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), biosimilar competition, the 340B program, and more.


Next Week on the Hill: Trump Signs 2-Year Budget Deal, Immigration Showdown Looms

President Donald Trump signed a sweeping bipartisan budget deal into law this morning, ending a brief government shutdown. Congress labored over the deal late into the night and early into Friday morning, as Sen. Rand Paul refused to consent to expediting Senate votes ahead of the midnight deadline. Ultimately, the Senate voted (71-28) to pass the measure shortly before 2am ET, and House voted (240-186) around 5:30am to send the bill to President Trump’s desk.


Today on the Hill: Decision Day on Landmark Budget Deal

The Senate is expected to vote early this afternoon on a massive bipartisan budget deal that would avert a government shutdown, suspend the debt ceiling, raise strict budget caps, and offer billions in funding for health care, disaster relief, infrastructure, child care, and education. The text of the deal hatched by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was released last night, outlining a $300 billion spending package that would break a months-long stalemate that has plagued the appropriations process. If approved, the deal could result in an omnibus finally being passed in March.


Today on the Hill: Senate Leaders Near Budget Deal

Congress moved one step closer to avoiding a government shutdown last night, voting overwhelmingly (245-182) to pass a short-term, GOP-backed government funding bill (text; section-by-section) that would to keep the government running beyond the midnight Thursday deadline. While the bill includes a wide array of bipartisan health care provisions, the measure garnered minimal support from Democrats, who have demanded parity in spending for defense and non-defense programs.