Bipartisan Capital Bashing Continues in the House
Following yesterday’s Senate Banking hearing (see Client Report REFORM229), today’s HFSC session with top bank regulators again highlighted growing bipartisan consternation over the unintended consequences of the agencies’ capital proposal (see FSM Report CAPITAL230). Although Ranking Member Waters (D-CA) echoed Chairman Brown’s defense, Democratic criticism today went beyond concerns about mortgages and green bonds also to address credit availability, new trading and derivatives standards, capital recognition of securities losses, and insufficient review of the proposal’s quantitative impacts. Republicans continued to bash the proposal for what they said is insufficient economic analysis. Unlike yesterday, attention to the FDIC’s harassment scandal most notably came from Democrats’ side of the aisle, with Ranking Member Waters using all of her questioning time to criticize the FDIC and request a report from each agency describing how they will review sexual-harassment. Reiterating concerns he and Subcommittee on Financial Institutions Chairman Barr (R-KY) recently raised regarding regulators’ interactions with international standard-setters, Chairman McHenry grilled Vice Chair Barr and Acting Comptroller Hsu about staff compensation and agency documentation practices at international events. Mr. Barr emphasized that all Board and staff member compensation comes from the Fed, while Mr. Hsu only said that his agency tracks participation in these bodies to ensure mission alignment. We continue to expect GOP pressure on the international-agency front but no action until GAO completes its report. Chair Gruenberg noted broad alignment with a new incentive-compensation proposal, but revised the initial timeline for an NPR from year-end to early next year.