Financial Services Report

September 8, 2015

Our Take
Since the first session of the 114th Congress convened back in January we’ve made it clear that this year’s Congressional agenda would be dictated by deadlines. While the Congress and the Administration were able to successfully deal with a few of these, most were punted until the end of September and October, leaving Congress with a full plate and little time in the short term.
On the menu are; funding the federal government, extending the debt limit, reauthorizing the transportation bill, considering the Iran Nuclear Deal, dealing with the annual list of tax extenders that need to be renewed, reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Act, extending child nutrition programs, and potentially renewing the expired Export-Import Bank Charter.

With only ten legislative days scheduled for September it looks like there will only be time to deal with two of the issues this month.  First is the Iran Deal, and with both the House and Senate scheduling the debate and vote on the issue for next week, it appears that Congress will have resolved this, one way or the other, by the September 17th deadline.  Second, the conventional wisdom is that the House and Senate will pass a short-term, fairly clean continuing resolution (CR) before the end of the month (and possibly before the Pope arrives on September 24th). 
While there has been much talk by Conservatives looking to use the CR to defund Planned Parenthood, Leader McConnell has thrown cold water on the idea for this year.  While observers agree that it is more likely than not that Congress moves a clean CR in September, it likely to be a short-term solution, that will only keep the doors open through the end of the year.  This means the second CR may be paired with the need to raise the debt ceiling, or the transportation bill, or tax extenders.  Whatever ultimately gets added to the “sausage” it appears that there will be many Republicans eager to add riders to this longer term CR to curtail Administration policies, including potentially the DOL Fiduciary Rule.  Combined with the fact that the debate around this second CR will be occurring only weeks before the Iowa Caucus and the first presidential primaries, it certainly could create an incentive for some (either candidates or various outside groups) to push for a shut down.  As we said back at the start of recess, it is going to be a busy and bumpy fall. 
Looking Ahead

Near Term

  • On Thursday two House Financial Services Subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule.
  • Also on Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a nomination hearing for Andrew Szubin to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes.

Further Out

  • During the rest of the month the House Financial Services Committee is expected to hold another hearing on the 5th Anniversary of Dodd Frank, a hearing on international financial turmoil and a hearing on issues facing the U.S. Insurance industry. 
  • The Committee is also anticipating holding a mark-up for a yet-to-be announced set of bills at the end of the month. 
  • The Department of Labor is expected to publish the transcript of its four days of hearings on its controversial Fiduciary Duty rule in the next week or so.  This publication will trigger the reopening the comment period, with the Department expected – barring Congressional intervention – to issue a final rule by the end of the year or in Q1 of 2016.

Next Week’s Schedule

On Wednesday, September 9th at 10:00 AM in 2128 Rayburn, the Financial Services Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing will hold a hearing entitled, “Could America Do More? An Examination of U.S. Efforts to Stop the Financing of Terror.”
On Thursday, September 10th at 10:00 AM in 2128 Rayburn the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees will hold a hearing entitled, “Preserving Retirement Security and Investment Choices for All Americans.”
On Thursday, September 10th at 10:00 AM in 538 Dirksen the Banking Committee will hold a nominations hearing.