This morning's "Morning Money" piece from Politico featured comments from Thorn Run’s Jason Rosenstock, who offers his take on the current state of play between both parties on the debt limit. “Democrats whose history under the Gephardt Rule shows they never wanted to make this a public issue, and who are tired of having to supply the votes and the campaign fodder for Republicans, have almost no incentive to bail out the GOP majority,” noted Rosenstock. “Republicans, in control of all three branches of Government for the first time during one of these crises, know that they can’t escape the blame for any repercussions from the stock market for failing to raise the debt limit. While few are publicly talking about it, the stars may be aligning so that this next extension is the final time Congress deals with this issue.”
A fuller excerpt of this morning's article is below.
SCOOP: TREASURY TO TAKE MODEST APPROACH TO FIN REG — It got a bit buried Friday but do not miss the big scoop from POLITICO's Victoria Guida on the financial regulation revision proposals expected out of Treasury on Monday: “The Treasury Department … is set to propose modest revisions to banking regulations put in place after the financial crisis, a sharp contrast to the slash-and-burn approach to those rules that was approved by House Republicans just this week.
“In a long-awaited report ordered by President Donald Trump, Treasury will call for a streamlining of regulators’ authority and for shrinking the power of the [CFPB] … The report is one of a series that the department is drafting in response to a February executive order by Trump for a comprehensive review of financial regulations,
CLOSER TO WHAT SENATE CAN DO — “Treasury's document is probably closer to what is achievable, given that Senate Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass most major legislation … It takes a calibrated, vague approach to the so-called Volcker rule, one of the most hotly contested parts of the Dodd-Frank law …
“Treasury will recommend that banks with fewer than $10 billion in assets be exempt from the Volcker rule … while the House bill, known as the Financial CHOICE Act, would repeal the rule entirely” Read more.
Cap Alpha’s Ian Katz on Treasury’s approach: “We think this is a solid strategy that will help toward getting reforms that will be positive for bank investors. For Treasury, it makes more sense to strongly advocate realistic reforms rather than push a bunch of things that aren’t going to happen and then look like they’ve lost.
“Treasury has a chance to be a key part of the discussion, and it will have more credibility if it presses for reforms that have a chance of getting through Congress. As we’ve noted, Senate Banking, which will drive the FinReg reform process, isn’t going to consider most of the proposals in the Choice Act”
THE END OF THE DEBT LIMIT? — Thorn Run Partner’s Jason Rosenstock in a note going out this a.m. suggests the end of the debt limit brinksmanship may be at hand: “Democrats whose history under the Gephardt Rule shows they never wanted to make this a public issue, and who are tired of having to supply the votes and the campaign fodder for Republicans, have almost no incentive to bail out the GOP majority
“Republicans, in control of all three branches of Government for the first time during one of these crises, know that they can’t escape the blame for any repercussions from the stock market for failing to raise the debt limit. While few are publicly talking about it, the stars may be aligning so that this next extension is the final time Congress deals with this issue.”
BROOKS FOR NUMBER TWO AT TREASURY — POLITICO’s Ben White and Victoria Guida: “Trump is expected to nominate Fannie Mae general counsel Brian Brooks as deputy Treasury secretary, according to a person close to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“Brooks’ selection would bring the administration one step closer to filling a number of political vacancies at the department; Mnuchin is the only Senate-confirmed Trump pick at Treasury right now. …
“Trump’s previous pick for the slot, Jim Donovan, dropped out last month, citing family concerns … Brooks would also be the latest administration nominee who is an alumnus of Mnuchin’s onetime bank, OneWest” Read more.
MINDMELD — A person close to Treasury describes Brooks as good pick, though perhaps not as much of a star as Donovan. He’s “a moderate, good guy, worked for [John] McCain. He’ll be fine.”
TRUMP TWEETS ON THE ECONOMY — Some notable Trump tweets from Sunday: “The #FakeNews MSM doesn't report the great economic news since Election Day. #DOW up 16 percent. #NASDAQ up 19.5 percent. Drilling & energy sector … way up.”
“Regulations way down. 600,000+ new jobs added. Unemployment down to 4.3 percent. Business and economic enthusiasm way up- record levels!”
REAL TALK — Of course the stock market advance gets massive, daily coverage. And here’s Trump from February of last year on the jobless rate he now touts: “Don't believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment. As high as 35 — as in fact, I heard recently, 42 percent.”
Oh and here are over a dozen other times he dismissed the official jobs data as rigged.
SEE YOU THIS SUMMER — Per Sunday’s POLITICO Playbook: “WE HEAR … There is a chance Congress will stay in session for part of August. There has been political pressure from some members of the House and Senate to stay in town and try to get some things done instead of take a five-week recess.
“The pressure will only increase if the Obamacare repeal and replace isn't done in the next few weeks. Congress has just 27 days in session until the summer break. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise: many lawmakers have had to face angry constituents on trips home.”
TRUMP POSTPONES UK TRIP — Via The Guardian: “Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.
“The U.S. president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time. The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.” Read more.
GOOD MONDAY MORNING — Greetings from Deer Valley, Utah where MM is moderating a panel on Tuesday. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @morningmoneyben. Email Aubree Eliza Weaver on email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @AubreeEWeaver.
POLITICO's INAUGURAL "WOMEN RULE” INVESTIGATION: Not only did women not break the glass ceiling in 2016 —they stalled at just 20 percent in Congress, and less than one-quarter of elected offices nation-wide. Why does a persistent gap in women’s interest in running for office continue—even as political activism among women has heated up since the election? Over the course of several months, POLITICO conducted over 50 interviews with candidates, elected officials, researchers, wavering candidates and political operatives and found that the swell of female political activism does not translate to future candidacies. To change things, recruiters must start earlier in a woman’s life for her to consider running, school boards are the best starting place, and the sales pitch to get women to run for office must change. Read more here.
DRIVING THE WEEK — Big week for the Fed with Chair Janet Yellen expected to announce another quarter point rate increase on Wednesday and speak at a news conference about the outlook for the rest of the year. This week’s action seems locked in but with wage inflation still low and hard data a little soft, will the central bank show any sign of backing off plans for a further hike this year?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at 4:00 p.m. on Monday testifies on the department’s budget before House Appropriations. One assumes he will be asked about the debt limit. Anything he says on the topic now is news, even if he just repeats a call for a clean hike by August … Senate Banking on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. holds a nomination hearing for Kevin Hassett to be CEA Chair. … AG Jeff Sessions testifies before Senate Intelligence on Tuesday, keeping the Russia story in the headlines .
Mnuchin is back before House Appropriations on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. … Senate Small Business has a tax reform hearing Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. … Consumer prices Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. expected to be flat headline and up 0.2 percent core …
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FIRST LOOK: NEW AT FSR — Per release out Monday: “[T]he Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) announced … it has hired Meg Burns as Senior Vice President of Mortgage Policy to bolster its housing finance reform advocacy efforts. Burns’ hiring comes after FSR recently hired Ed DeMarco, former Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director, as its new Housing Policy Council (HPC) President” Read more.
NO, THE UK VOTE WAS RETURN OF THE ESTABLISHMENT — Mohamed A. El-Erian on Bloomberg View: “Yes, the mainstream parties did better in the U.K., but this came solely on the back of an unexpectedly strong performance of a Labour Party that visibly and purposely, opted for more extreme left-wing policies under Jeremy Corbyn”
NO HARD BREXIT? — POLITICO’s David Cohen: “After Thursday's eye-opening elections in Britain, there are no longer the votes for a ‘hard Brexit’ in Britain's Parliament, former Chancellor George Osborne told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday.
“‘It’s not clear what takes it place,’ said Osborne, now the editor of the Evening Standard newspaper, in discussing Brexit and the future of the Conservative Party following big election losses for Theresa May's government” Read more.
FED’S EFFORT TO GUIDE MARKETS FALLS SHORT — WSJ’s David Harrison: “The Federal Reserve’s interest-rate increases aren’t having the desired effect of cooling off Wall Street’s hot streak. While Fed officials meeting this week will likely decide to raise short-term interest rates for a fourth time since December 2015, much of that tightening effort has yet to be felt in financial markets, where stocks have rallied to records this year and bond yields have fallen, developments that tend to prompt more borrowing, faster economic growth and more market speculation” Read more.
STATE INVESTORS STOCK UP ON GOLD RESERVES — FT’s Attracta Mooney: “The gold reserves of the world’s biggest public sector investors reached an 18-year high as they hoarded the precious metal after Donald Trump’s election and the Brexit vote added to geopolitical uncertainty.
“State investors increased their net gold holdings by 377 tonnes to an estimated 31,000 tonnes last year — the highest level since 1999, according to a study of 750 central banks, public pension plans and sovereign wealth funds with $33.5tn in assets.” Read more.
CBA’S HUNT ON REGS — Consumer Bankers Association chief Richard Hunt sat down with the AP to talk politics, competition and Wells Fargo. Read more.
BIG TECH STOCKS LIKELY UNDER PRESSURE … AGAIN — CNBC’s John Melloy: “After a drop in big technology stocks Friday caused the Nasdaq composite to post its worst week of the year, the shares were likely to come under pressure again on Monday after Apple shares were downgraded.
“Mizuho Securities' Abhey Lamba downgraded the iPhone maker to neutral from buy on Sunday, saying the best case scenario is priced into the shares. The analyst echoed a common concern of investors taking profits in big technology stocks last week.” Read more.
ASIA SHARES DROP — Bloomberg’s Jeff Sutherland: “Asian stocks fell as Friday’s selloff in U.S. technology stocks spread, while the British pound held losses as investors assessed the risks from political turmoil in the U.K …
“The rout in U.S. tech stocks began when Robert Boroujerdi, global chief investment officer at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., warned that low volatility in Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. may be blinding investors to risks such as cyclicality and regulation.” Read more.
UBER FACES DEEPER TURMOIL — WSJ’s Greg Bensinger: “Uber Technologies Inc.’s leadership crisis intensified Sunday as the board of directors met to weigh issues including a possible leave of absence for Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and the potential departure of his closest lieutenant” Read more.
COST OF ‘BLACK SWAN’ INSURANCE DROPS — FT’s Miles Johnson: “The cost for hedge funds of taking out “Black Swan” insurance against a sharp fall for US equities has fallen to the lowest level since before the financial crisis as stock markets continue to touch all-time highs.
“Months of low market volatility has forced down the price of options allowing hedge funds to place bets that would make them 25 times on their money if the S&P 500 index fell by 7 percent over the next month.” Read more.
BITCOIN BULLS RUN WILD — CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng: “Bitcoin traded above $3,000 for the first time on Sunday, continuing this year's massive surge and helped by increased demand from Asia-based investors. After trading in a range for the last week, bitcoin climbed to an all-time high Sunday of $3,012.05, according to CoinDesk.
“ … The digital currency has had a stellar year, rising by more than 200 percent and easily outperforming stock market benchmarks like the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq composite in 2017. The cryptocurrency has now more than tripled in value since trading at $968 on Dec. 31, and has gained nearly 30 percent in June alone.” Read more.
DEUTSCHE BANK WEALTH ARM TARGETS ASIA’S SUPER RICH — FT’s Hugo Greenhaigh: “Deutsche Bank Wealth Management is hiring 100 client managers around the world in an attempt to bolster its access to the super-rich, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region: Read more.
ALSO FOR YOUR RADAR —
DON’T SCREW UP ON TAX REFORM — Former Wal-Mart CEO William Simon in a CNBC op-ed: “We only get the chance to rework the tax code every 30 years. We can't blow it with a small, temporary tax cut. Tax reform needs to be permanent. We need to encourage American companies that operate abroad to return their profits to the U.S.
Tax reform should be a vehicle to slow the tide of jobs flowing to other countries.” Read more.
FINRA’S COOK ON INVESTOR PROTECTION — FINRA CEO Robert Cook speaks Monday at Georgetown about what Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization is doing to protect investors from high-risk brokers. “A few bad actors can not only devastate the people they target, but also threaten confidence in the wider financial system.
“Markets simply cannot function well if there is an undue risk — whether real or perceived — that one’s hard-earned savings could line the pocket of a fraudster instead of providing a good retirement, sending kids to college, or helping to start a new business.”
SANTANDER PROTESTS — Per release going out Monday: “As Santander faces down growing criticism over corrupt and dangerous banking practices both in the US and abroad, unions and community groups led protests today in ten countries to fight against the bank’s unethical practices that put workers, customers, and entire economies at risk.
“In what is the largest protest to date, Santander workers, customers, and community activists are outlining their concerns in a massive global day of action that spans the Santander Consumer annual shareholders meeting in Dallas, Santander Bank locations in Spain and Puerto Rico, and the Spanish Parliament in Madrid”